Matthew 28:19-20 says, “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.”
How does one make disciples? That is what Jesus has commanded the eleven to do—to make disciples; and, in a future sense, for us to make disciples as well. On the surface, it may seem like a simple task but when you really begin to grapple with the idea of making disciples for God’s kingdom it is really an emotionally taxing idea.
What is a disciple?
A disciple is someone who is led by someone else. They are taught and mentored by their teacher who would serve as a model of the character that they would eventually personify. Jesus modeled the character of the Father before his disciples, taught them the scriptures, and mentored them in ministry. Jesus had a personal relationship with his disciples and he taught them personally and powerfully.
I have heard it said that people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Mentorship works the same way and it takes time to build relationships and trust. In order to be an effective mentor you need to be willing to personally invest your time and effort into the one that you are mentoring.
Why did Jesus choose his disciples?
Mark 3:14-15 says, “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority over demons.”
There could be a couple of reasons why he chose the twelve disciples that he did. Here are a couple of good opinions that I have found:
- According to Jewish culture, in order to meet the qualifications for a synagogue there needed to be at least 10 men.
- As there were 12 tribes in Israel; Jesus chose 12 disciples to represent the 12 tribes.
- To the children of Israel numbers were very important and twelve was one of those numbers that was particularly important standing for perfection.
Even if these reasons are completely off base it still stands to be true that Jesus chose them that they might be with him. Jesus needed the disciples to be with him so that they could study and learn from him so that what he was doing could continue. The disciples got their authority from Jesus and when they went out from him they were able to preach the word, perform miracles, and cast out demons all in the name of Jesus.
What kind of people were Jesus’ disciples?
Jesus had a ragtag group of followers that would not look like much from the outside. In fact, if we were in his shoes we probably wouldn’t have picked. Here is a good excerpt from an article where I found some personality for a few of Jesus’ disciples:
Therefore he chose 12 for a particularly cultural reason. What is more significant, of course, is the diverse characters he chose – 2 belligerent teenage boys (James and John), a couple of fishermen (Peter and Andrew), one of whom tended to bluster and open his mouth before engaging his brain (Peter), a political activist (Simon the Zealot), a hated tax collector and collaborator with the occupying Romans (Matthew), one of two twins who was a skeptical cynic (Thomas) amongst them. Yet all these went on to become wonderful evangelists and ambassadors of the Christian faith thanks to the Holy Spirit working in them. It gives us all hope that a motley crew like his could, with the help of God’s Spirit, spread the message all over the then known world. The only disciple that one could normally regard as someone with anything about him was the one entrusted to keeping the common fund held by the disciples – Judas Iscariot, and just look how he ended up.
Like our personalities today are diverse. The disciples that Jesus chose had diverse personalities. You might think “I’m too _____ for Jesus to want to use me to make disciples.” I tell you that you are the exact disciple that God wants to use to make more disciples for his kingdom. God can use the most unlikely of people to reach the world look at the Apostle Paul. Paul was one of the guys with the resume a mile long. He thought he was working for God. He was even educated under one the most well-known Rabbis of the time Gamaliel. Before his conversion Paul persecuted the followers of Christ to the death. It wasn’t necessarily good news when you saw Paul in town.
If you would like to read Paul’s testimony he gave it three times in the book of Acts. Here they are:
Acts 22:1-21 (Paul’s testimony)
Acts 26 (Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa)
Why is mentorship important?
Mentorship is important in a way that you are able to pour into someone’s life to better it in some way. You may not know what their background is, or what their hurts are; but, being a mentor is a good way to start the healing process. We all need to know how to live our lives. If we don’t disciple someone for Christ and show them how to live an upright and godly life then they will be mentored by someone else.
I heard this good saying, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” Reader, I challenge you to put your faith into action, find someone that needs help, and guide them in their walk with Christ that they might find life and that more abundantly.
Take a stand. Be a mentor. Make disciples.