We talk frequently about being disciples and making disciples. The gospel tells men of the good news of salvation, and yet many do not accept the invitation to be Christians. The following foundational scriptures define the nature of the disciple.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they wor- shiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:16-20).
Discipleship is not an option like choices in a cafeteria. Jesus, speaking with heavenly authority, says he wants all men to be His followers. Something is lacking in all of us if we do not desire to be his children. Discipleship is open to all, but not all accept. Jesus says being a child of God depends on obedience (including baptism). Furthermore, being a follower of Christ means we obey all His commands as they are given.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom 8:29)
In becoming disciples, we are conformed to His image; we be- come Christ-like. Obedience in baptism allows us entrance into he family of the redeemed and makes us brothers to Christ. Earlier in the chapter (8:12), Paul says we become heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. In Christ we have redemption, forgiveness and the inheritance of a heavenly home (Eph. 1:3-14).
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt 11:27- 30).
Jesus offers to be our guide and instructor. He simultaneously offers us rest. If you’ve ever tried to learn a new language or skill, or tried to change a habit, you know it is hard work. Ironically, Jesus offers us rest while he helps us with the work of transforming our lives! Furthermore, becoming and being a disciple takes no special intelligence, high level of secular education or worldly wisdom. If we come to Him with simple open minds and soft hearts, Christ will reveal the Father to us.
Considering these passages, it’s puzzling why everyone doesn’t want to be a true disciple!