According to Matthew, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave his followers this last instruction: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
The command in this passage is translated “make disciples.” It is precipitated by Jesus’ authority. It includes the aspects of go[ing], baptizing, and teaching. And it is wrapped up in the promise that Jesus will always be with us.
My “go to” definition of making disciples (or discipleship) is this: “Helping each other follow Jesus.”
This definition includes several parts:
“Helping” reminds us that the real work is done by God. He often chooses to use his children (that would be us), but the work is still his. However, there is a role for us to play.
“Each other” reminds us that this is mutual (reciprocal) work. There are no pure discipler->disciple relationship among humans. Instead, we’re all in need of being helped to follow Jesus, and, at the same time, we can all help others to follow Jesus.
“Follow” reminds us that being a disciple is not a passive adventure or a mental exercise. Instead, it is a way of life. (In fact, the first name for “Christianity” was “the Way.”)
“Jesus” reminds us that we do not want people to follow us. We want people to follow Jesus.
Finally, the entire phrase reminds us that there will be some aspects of following Jesus that will be the same (or similar) between different believers. But, at the same time, there will be some aspects of following Jesus that will be different between different believers.
For the next few days, I’ll be publishing posts about “helping each other follow Jesus.” But, for now, I’d have a question for you:
What do you think of my definition “helping each other follow Jesus”? What would you add, change, or remove from this definition?
Series: Discipleship as “helping each other follow Jesus”
- Defining discipleship as helping each other follow Jesus
- Helping each other follow Jesus… in different directions?
- How has someone helped you follow Jesus
- Unintentionally helping each other follow Jesus
- Intentionally helping each other follow Jesus