Bible Verse: “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Mark 8:34)
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:1-30
A disciple both follows Jesus and helps others follow Jesus. Andrew was introduced to Jesus by John the Baptist, spent a day with Jesus, looked for Simon to tell him “We have found the Messiah” and then went with him to see Jesus. Jesus met Philip, who responded to the invitation to follow, then found Nathanael and invited him to “Come and see.” Matthew responded to the invitation to follow Jesus and soon after he hosted a dinner for his friends and Jesus. Each of them knew that one does not follow Jesus by oneself; a disciple helps others follow Jesus too.
Ordinary, everyday disciples, not just super-disciples, are to make disciples. I have the responsibility and opportunity to help others follow Jesus. Similarly, those disciples around me are helping me to follow Jesus better too. How does that happen? The disciples not only related to Jesus, they related to one another.
1. Travel With One Another
Note that Andrew took Simon to Jesus and that Philip took Nathanael to see Jesus – they did not just send them to Jesus. The disciples travelled, not only with Jesus, but with one another.
They walked together, ate together, sailed together, watched Jesus together, sat down on the hillside together, listened to the teaching of Jesus together and they learned together. And they not only learned from Jesus, they learned from one another.
It is when disciples who are following Jesus walk through life together with other disciples that they help one another develop transformed character, transformed perspective, transformed relationships and transformed lifestyle.
2. Talk With One Another
Reading the Gospels we get a glimpse of the conversations of the disciples. We know they argued with one another, asked questions of one another, and they no doubt tried to answer one another’s questions. One can almost hear them asking: “What did he mean by that?”; “Why did he do that?”; “Who is he, that even the winds and waves obey him?” Even their arguments were often their attempt to make sense of the teaching and life of Jesus.
Disciples help one another follow Jesus as we share what we learn, as we report how God has worked in our lives and as we ask questions. We can discuss what we read in Scripture, what we hear taught from the pulpit and what we study in small group sessions. Most importantly, we can together grapple with how that truth impacts our lives.
3. Team Up With One Another
From the simple task of distributing bread and fish, then collecting up the leftovers to being sent out in pairs to preach repentance and heal the sick, Jesus expected his followers to work together for the sake of the kingdom. It was as they served together that they experienced the most growth in character, in understanding truth and in reorienting their values and priorities.
Disciples help one another follow Jesus when they team up for service. That may involve participation in one of the ministries of the church or it may involve seeing a need in the community and addressing it. The service may range from simple acts of kindness to addressing issues of justice. The ministry may serve an individual, a family or a whole community. Most importantly, it will be done in the name of Jesus and as an extension of the ministry of Jesus in our world. And in the doing of ministry together, disciples will experience what it means to follow Jesus, will be transformed in the process and will be helping their team members to follow Jesus.
Imagine what would happen through the unleashing of ordinary disciples like you and me who answer the invitation to follow Jesus and then help one another follow Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit – everyday!
— David Freeman, Promise Keepers Canada
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