Discipleship is at the heart of the Christian endeavour. We are not simply believers in a faith tradition but followers of a person.
In Mark 1:17 as Jesus begins his ministry he finds Andrew & Peter fishing by Lake Galilee and James & John mending their nets. His call is instructive.
He called them to follow him and we see that Jesus designated the twelve that they ‘might be with him’ (Mk 3:14). It’s this invitation not just into service but relationship that defines our following; Jesus wants his disciples to be with Him.
Before a disciple does, a disciple is. Before the call to go into the world is the invitation to come and be with Jesus.
But what did Jesus do with his disciples? Three things
- He taught them (Mt 5:1-2)
- He sent them (Lk 9:2) – ‘to preach and to heal’
- He showed them – as they ate together, sang together, prayed together, walked and shared together
The message that Jesus taught was that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand and you could enter it through repentance and faith (Lk 5:32).
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see that when the disciples are commissioned and then left to carry on the mission of Jesus that they preach the Gospel of the kingdom of Jesus which you can enter through repentance and faith.
Nor is it a surprise that formed a way of life that was centred around eating, singing, praying, sharing together in which they could teach people to follow and obey Jesus, just as they followed and obeyed Jesus.
And if you can’t remember all the things that Jesus taught and all the commands that Jesus gave, they’re neatly summed up in just two: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul & strength and love your neighbour as yourself.”