It is easy to explain what a disciple is. The answer is in the Bible, by of Jesus Christ himself. So in this post we look some deeper into Jesus definition of a disciple.
Most understand the term “disciple” to be synonymous with “Christian.” If we use the text of the New Testament to define these words, however, it is clear that “Christian” and “disciple” are not totally the same.
The word “Christian” is only 3 times in the New Testament (KJV). Also Jesus followers and disciples never say they were Christian directly. It was more outside of the fellowships and who were mainly critical of the disciples of Jesus.
Jesus very clearly distinguished between those who were his disciples from among the religious class, which during His day were Jews and he had harsh words for those people. This is best seen in the Gospel of John in Chapter 8.
To the “disciples”:
John 8:31-32 King James Version31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
To the unbelieving Jews:
John 8:44-47 King James Version44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
So now that I have defined “disciple,” which in English would be synonymous with words like student or pupil, let’s answer the question I started this article with: Do you know if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ or not?
The requirement to be a disciple of Jesus Christ:
… any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)
How to recognize a true disciple of Jesus Christ, or how disciples of Jesus are treated by the masses:
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. (Luke 21:16)
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
They will put you out of the synagogue (“church” today); in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. (John 16:2)
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:29-30)
Given the high cost of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ, very few take that narrow path:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
For many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)
What kind of people Jesus chose:
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
Given what Jesus said, therefore, about what it takes to be one of his disciples, and the written account about the kind of people that became his disciples, where do you think you are most likely to find disciples of Jesus Christ today?
How about you? Do you know if you are a disciple of Jesus or not?
John 6:37-40 King James Version
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.