The three ways Jesus changed humanity forever, in just one short lifetime.
It continues to amaze me that while Jesus lived only 33 years, the first 30 were spent in personal preparation and only three and a half years were given over to ministry. Yes, he did minister to the crowds but during these short years, most of the time was devoted primarily to twelve hand-chosen disciples who he equipped to create a disciple-making movement that transformed the Roman world for Christianity. Why?
1. Discipling A Few Was God’s Will
Jesus knew how to lead because he sought direction from the Father and was led by The Spirit. Jesus was led by The Spirit into the desert (Matthew 4:1-2) and when he needed direction from God he asked it through prayer (Luke 6:12-13). Through this prayer connection with his Father, Jesus could say This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak (John 12:49-50). Jesus chose the twelve and made them a priority during his three and a half years because it was the will of God.
- Are you spending your best time with God each day? How is your relationship with Him?
2. Disciple-Making Is Relational
Disciple-making and the spirituality needed to be an effective disciple-maker are more caught than taught. One definition of disciples is that they are followers. He said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). Disciples learn from and copy the life of the master. The definition the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific uses is A disciple is a person who in every way is becoming more like Jesus Christ. This definition grows out of Ephesians 4:15. This relational nature of discipling is highlighted by Jesus when he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could be with him (Mark 3:14). In being with him they were becoming like him.
- In your life, who are the people you spend the most time with? Is the Holy Spirit working through you to influence those around you?
3. Mentoring Made for Exponential Growth
Jesus not only mentored the twelve to be disciples he also mentored them to become disciple-makers. Jesus modeled disciple-making. He taught disciple-making. He then sent the disciples to make disciples. It seems obvious to me that after Jesus sent out the twelve on their disciple-making journey (Mark 6:7) he then used them as mentors when the 72 were sent out (Luke 10:1). They make disciples who in turn became disciple-making disciples. Paul followed the same pattern of mentoring a group of disciples who travelled with him – disciples like Timothy, Titus, and John Mark. Why follow the pattern of Jesus? Jesus could only be in one place at one time. The twelve going two by two were now in 6 places at one time. The 72 were able to minister in 36 places at one time. Paul and the early Christian church exploded across the Empire following the Jesus pattern.
- Are those around you encouraged to spend time with Jesus also and grow with Him? Is that influence also spreading to their friends and family?
So what was Jesus like as a disciple-maker? Through prayer Jesus learned the will of God and was led by the Holy Spirit to follow it. Jesus built intentional long-term relationships with a few. They lived with him. They journeyed with him and became more like him. Jesus equipped them to be disciple-making disciples through a mentoring process. And the Kingdom of God grew exponentially. As his disciples in the last day, we can obey his command to make disciples and follow his pattern to seek the will of God, build intentional relationships and mentor others to become disciple makers. Jesus made this our responsibility.
Can you imagine if we took this model as Jesus did, how the world too, might change? As a disciple of Jesus, what will you do?