What does it mean to “make disciples”?
The first time disciples of Jesus were called “Christians” was in the city of Antioch. Antioch was a cosmopolitan city with many different ethnicities living within its walls. Amid this diversity, a group of people stood out—those who followed an obscure, recently crucified Jewish rabbi from Nazareth. It would have been understandable if the people of Antioch had mistaken these people as just another Jewish sect. Yet there was something different about them. Something so different they were given a name intended to poke fun: “little Christs” or “Christians.”
The term “Christian” is only used a handful of times throughout the New Testament, often by outsiders. Members of the early church were known to call themselves “disciples.” In John 13:35, Jesus gives the identifying mark that His disciples should bear: love.
Jesus’ last earthly words were for his disciples to go out into the world and make more disciples. (Matthew 28:18)
But what is a disciple?
A disciple is someone who understands and follows a teacher. But a disciple is more than just a student; a disciple has a deep relationship with his or her teacher.
What does it look like for an MAF pilot or tech specialist to make disciples? What does it look like for a person with a nine-to-five job, or a stay-at-home parent, or a retiree in America to make disciples?
Jesus’ model of discipleship in the Gospels consisted of sharing His life with a select group of followers—pouring into them through teaching, showing what it looked like to live in the Kingdom of God, and being in relationship with them.
Being and making disciples looks like a missionary family in Lesotho investing in the life of a local teenager. It looks like a woman moving across the world to live in a village for decades so the people there can know Jesus. It looks like faithful people such as you supporting the work of MAF as we take the hope and love of Jesus to the most remote places on earth.
Being and making disciples means sharing the love of Jesus and the hope of the gospel with others and helping them mature in their faith.
The people of Antioch and others outside the Church in the New Testament saw this love displayed and accused disciples of being “little Christs.” Oh, that the same accusation could always be thrown at the followers of Jesus!
Story appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of FlightWatch. Read the entire issue here: