How Did Jesus Make Disciples?
The mission of every believer and every church is to make disciples, but most of us don’t even know where to start in this process. So how did Jesus make disciples and how can we follow His example?
- Jesus came in the flesh, he came to people and did not wait for them to come to him.
- Jesus came in grace and truth, he met people in their sin, but raised them to the standard of God’s righteousness. (John 8, I don’t condemn you… go and sin no more)
- Jesus simply went to people and said follow me, not “understand everything today”, but follow what I say and do, and understanding will come.
- Jesus renamed people, he pointed them to a new identity outside of themselves. Jesus told his disciples there will be greater things to come, He didn’t let them have a narrow view of the kingdom that was limited to just miracles.
- Jesus didn’t teach escapism, but instead gave confident hope in the midst of this world. He taught people how to live in the “here and now” kingdom with all of the challenges of the world, but also painted a picture of a future kingdom where all is made right. (John 14-16)
- Jesus didn’t do ministry alone, but did almost everything with a few of his disciples watching. However, Jesus did take time alone for prayer and solitude in between or before he ministered to others (John 7:10, John 17)
- Jesus asked really good, pinpointed questions (John 4, woman at the well)
- Jesus used stories and illustrations to stir up questions from others.
- Jesus was resilient, never letting opposition slow him down.
- Jesus didn’t avoid severe needs (blind, adultery, sickness and even death i.e. Lazarus), but almost seemed to seek them out.
- Jesus let his disciples watch him do ministry and then debriefed with them after to equip them to do ministry as well.
- Jesus encouraged and blessed (turning water into wine, feeding 5k, healing at Bethesda, walking on water), but He also challenged and rebuked (cleansing the temple, prediction of betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter in John 13)
- Jesus pointed out the cost of following him, but also the reward of fulfillment and meaning. (John 4 “I have food you do not know about”, John 7 “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink.”)
- Jesus confronted the religious (Pharisees, Scribes) and the irreligious (woman at the well, woman caught in adultery)
- Jesus taught on big stages, but also washed feet in a small room.
- Jesus pointed to the authority of the Father and promised the power of the Spirit. (Jesus was Trinitarian in his discipleship)
- Jesus allowed people to see him in his best AND darkest moments (peak of ministry, on huge platforms reaching the multitudes, conquering sin satan and death in the resurrection, but also in deep suffering – criticism, persecution, betrayal by his friends, torture, and death)