THE DISCIPLES OF THE CHRIST
40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
The common understanding of many is that a disciple of The Lord Yeshua is anyone who believes in Him to be The Savior of mankind from the world’s impending and total destruction on the day of judgment. This blanket definition is not aligned with the teachings of The Lord concerning His disciples. Who are the true disciples of The Lord Yeshua? How can they be identified? How did The Lord Yeshua describe them? How valuable are they unto Him and unto God Almighty, His Father?
The real test if one can indeed be counted as a genuine disciple of The Lord Yeshua-Christos is if indeed he is going through a process of becoming like The Teacher, if he is not yet already - basing on the above quoted statement of The Savior. There is then an unavoidable need to first understand the true nature and character of The Christ so that anyone can perform a self-audit and see how they fare in comparison with The Teacher.
How is The Messiah prophesied in the scriptures?
18 “Hear, you deaf;
And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect,
And blind as the Lord’s servant?
20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe;
Opening the ears, but he does not hear.”
The Prophet Isaiah prophesied about a BLIND SERVANT WHO IS PERFECT who is the same prophesied DEAF MESSENGER of God. Is the prophesied Perfect Servant or Messenger physically blind and deaf? No, He is not, He can actually see many things and His ears are also open (Isa. 42:20 Complete Jewish Bible). The prophecy of Isaiah was stated figuratively and not literally. Why then was He prophesied to be blind and deaf? Because of His NON-JUDGMENTAL mindset and character - no matter how much He witnesses by sight or hearing He refuses to condemn (Jn. 12:46-48 / Jn. 8:15). Who alone could this prophesied Servant or Messenger of God be? No one else but God's Son Himself for He alone is THE PERFECT SERVANT OR MESSENGER of God who was made perfect by God's own righteousness (Isa. 42:6). If so, then His true and genuine disciples must be like Him in being non-judgmental towards others.
How are the disciples of The Lord Yeshua trained so that they will also become non-judgmental like Him? The Savior gave a full description of the people who are truly His disciples:
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
If simply believing in The Lord Yeshua makes one His disciple, then why did He tell those who already believed in Him to abide in His Word? It is because only when one abides in His Word shall he (or she) become a disciple who knows the truth that shall make him free. A disciple, therefore, is a freed person, freed by the truth of The Lord Yeshua because he believes in Him and abides in His Word.
What else turns believers into genuine disciples of The Messiah?
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
The Lord Yeshua required those whom He loves to also abide in His love as they keep or abide in His commandments or Word. His commandments and teachings are solely based on love - unto God first and foremost as well as unto self and unto others (Mat. 22:37-40). Anyone who claims to be a disciple of The Lord but does not love with His love is just a mere claimant. For how can one be a disciple if he is not a reflection of his Master?
THE ROYAL LAW OF LOVE
How do the disciples of The Lord live the love of their Master?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
The Lord's disciples are those who truly love others with the love of The Savior. This is the Royal Law of Christ's love, as expressed by the Apostle James, that is both impartial and non-judgmental towards all men. By fulfilling the Royal Law of love one will have kept all of God's Commandments as they are all packaged in God's love. Thus, no one can be selective on which commandment he or she will have to keep, or which persons can they choose to care and show mercy.
Therefore, the true and genuine disciples of The Savior always strive to not harbor hate in their hearts, but rather be showing an impartial love and mercy towards all people.
THE BELIEVERS WHO FOLLOW
What makes a disciple different from those who also believe in The Lord Yeshua as The Savior?
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
A true disciple of The Lord Yeshua does not merely believe in Him but follows Him and do His work. This separates him from the countless of people who already believe in The Lord Yeshua. As a coin has two sides, so is a disciple – the one side is of a believer who is well grounded in love and faith, while the other side is that of being a follower who is moved by the same love and faith.
THE SIGNS OF THE LORD'S DISCIPLES
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Lord Yeshua has further confirmed His disciples. How should we understand the signs given by The Christ that will follow His true followers or disciples? Let us enumerate these signs as follows:
In my name they will cast out demons - this is not only the power to exorcise anyone possessed by demonic spirits, but also healing those who are fighting their inner demons through spiritual counseling and blessings.
They will speak with new tongues - The Lord is not only referring to a new language but most importantly, His spiritual language of love, peace and mercy. The disciples' tongues or manner of speaking will be flavored with the spiritual salt (Mat. 5:13) that could preserve the life of those who will also believe and follow The Christ.
They will take up serpents - The Lord points to the bearer of falsehood and hypocrisy as 'serpents and brood of vipers' like the scribes, Pharisees and people of hypocrisy (Mat. 23:33). They are the equivalent to the hypocrite preachers and false prophets in our times who (knowingly or unknowingly) have twisted His message and replaced His truth with lies by the aid of the devil, the biggest serpent of all (Jn. 8:40 / Rev. 20:2). The Lord's disciples who are given His truth (Jn. 15:15 / 1 Jn. 2:20) will always defeat the erroneous teachings of false teachers in order to effectuate the salvation of The Lord unto the people.
If they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them - the drink referred here by The Lord is not a literal drink but a poisonous spiritual drink. How so? In the same manner that The Lord has likened His words to that of a spiritual drink - the living water that gives everlasting life (Jn. 4:10-15). The deadly spiritual drink that could harm others but not His disciples could include evil spells, charms, ill-wishes of people and even witchcraft (Deut. 18:10-11), and these were prevalent since olden times and will continue until the end days.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover - true disciples can call on the Holy Spirit or Power of Christ's words (Jn. 6:63) to heal one who is sick, and this they will ask in the name of the beloved Son of God, The Lord Yeshua of Nazareth, The Christ.
These are signs of the true disciples of The Lord Yeshua-Christos. A related topic that can help you understand how His disciples were also given these divine authority is our study on The Kingdom of God - how The Son of God and Savior of the world has shared to His select few His reign with God's Authority.
DISCIPLES ARE LIKENED TO THE WIND AND THE ABSENCE OF HIERARCHY
How does The Lord compare His disciples?
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The people identified by The Lord in His statement above are His disciples who are born again or born of the Spirit. How are we sure that His reference of those who are born of the Spirit points to His disciples? Because they are the ones who receive and share in the Kingdom of God. The Lord likened His disciples to the wind in such that ‘you can hear its sound but cannot tell where it comes from’. The disciples’ comparison to the wind only shows the free-spirited nature of The Lord’s disciples, they are not confined to any specific organization, nor are they bound by the rule of another man who exploits in the name of The Savior.
Here’s how The Lord explained how they should be treating each other no matter how many they have become:
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The Lord’s disciples are not reined in by any person’s authority but only that of God’s. The Lord even forbade the twelve apostles, whom He personally chose to witness about Him, to ‘exercise authority’ over any one. No matter how many shall they become, the community and brotherhood of The Lord’s disciples will grow only horizontally and never vertically. Before The King of Kings and Lord of Lords they all share the same rank, that of a disciple.
DISCIPLES ARE THE LORD’S FRIENDS
How does The Lord recognize His disciples? Other than being His followers, how does The Savior regard or value them?
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
The Lord counts His disciples as friends for as long as they do ‘whatever He commands them to do’. He loves them dearly that He even laid down his life for them. As proof of this sacred friendship, He kept not a secret to them all the things that He heard from His Father. Doing whatever The Savior commands us to do ties back with His previous condition that “if you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (Jn. 8:31).
There are a couple of reasons why The Lord recruited for disciples, and why He wants this task to be unending until He returns. As The Christ represents God, His disciples represents Him - and there are highly regardable duties and responsibilities expected of them. Itemized below are the most important of all the disciples’ responsibilities:
God’s True Worshipers
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
10 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.
Preach About the True Christ
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
The Christ's disciples are His true ambassadors bringing His spirit of peace and love unto the world. Also, they are: 1) the true worshipers who will worship God in spirit and truth, 2) witness to people the truth about the only true God, The Father, as taught by Lord Yeshua himself (Jn.17:1, 3), and, 3) they are also expected to confess or preach the truth about The Lord Yeshua - that He is The Son of God and Savior of mankind (but not God Almighty).
LORD’S TASK TO MAKE DISCIPLES
The Lord’s disciples are truly valuable unto Him for they do His work while He is still with God in heaven. For this reason, He commissioned them, starting with the first disciples, to make more disciples:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
There are a couple of key points that we cannot afford to miss on this instruction of The Lord. First, He instructed His disciples to make more disciples “of all nations” - meaning, from around the world. Second, by baptizing or immersing them (not in the water but) in the name of The Father, and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit. Baptizing or immersing does not always necessarily mean to be done in literal water. In this case, it is fulfilled by ‘filling them up’ or ‘flooding’ them with the truth about God, His Son and the Holy Spirit as supported by the third key point - “teaching them to observe all things” commanded. The parallel verse in Mark 16:15 renders it as ‘preaching the gospel to every creature’. The preaching of the pure gospel is the baptism in the context of The Christ pointed out by John the Baptist as the 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' (Mk. 1:8) made possible with the living water or words of The Savior (Jn. 4:10-14). What is the greatest blessing when disciples perform this commission of The Savior to make more disciples for Him? This is the third key point, they will receive the promised companionship of The Lord that will be unending "even to the end of the age."
Why should one not refuse to follow The Lord and be counted among His disciples? Is it not enough to just believe in Him?
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Anyone who wants to be worthy of The Lord needs to take his cross and follow Him. This means that we cannot escape from the responsibility of becoming His disciple – a faithful student and follower, as well as the task of making more disciples who bear and possess His love. Refusal to do so makes one unworthy of The Lord and His promises.
What comes with the promise of The Christ that He will be with them until the end of the age?
28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
The Lord has promised blessings to those who make Him and His mission their life’s priority. For all who left everything “for the sake of the Kingdom of God” – God’s Kingdom being the rule of The Christ Yeshua with the Power and Authority of God, shall “receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Whereas believing in The Lord Yeshua guarantees one salvation from the punishment in the lake of fire, following Christ and doing His work guarantees eternal life!
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
DISCIPLE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Disciples LIVE the LOVE of Christ because they LOVE the LIFE of Christ . ..
Only those who LIVE the LOVE of Christ can LIVE the LIFE of Christ. ..
As we learned above, the true disciples of The Lord Yeshua-Christos abide in His Word (Jn. 8:31) and in His love (Jn. 15:9-10). We invite you to become a disciple yourself. Study with us, we are here to help. We need to learn the true message of The Lord in all of His teachings and parables.
We commit ourselves to mentor you in the study of The Lord’s Gospel for Salvation Series (The Seven Guarantees for Eternal Life). We're not here to teach you things that are favorable to your liking as most of our doctrinal stances are very radical for mainstream Christianity. And rightfully so since we don't teach a watered down Gospel, nor a hybrid Gospel from the mixture of The Christ's teachings with those of Paul's. We ask you to pour your heart and mind into these studies, and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as these lessons deal with the most important goal each one should possess, our salvation and the attainment of eternal life.
You can find all of our study articles on our website, www.spiritualhouse.info. The website is divided into 5 sections. Let me describe to you the value of each section:
DISCIPLES' COURSE - this is where you can find the Gospel of Christ that is critical and necessary for one who goes through the spiritual transformation of becoming His disciple.
GOSPEL – the articles in this section help expand and deepen your understanding of God’s grace in His Son Yeshua-Christos.
PARABLES – in this section is where you can read the presentation on The Lord’s parables.
DISCOVERY – this is where you can be educated about our defense and exposure on certain destructive dogmas and doctrines of the world that lead believers of The Christ away from His guaranteed salvation.
BLOGS – these are short articles that cover on different doctrinal issues.
An essential responsibility in one’s transformation toward becoming a true disciple of The Lord is to regularly read the Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in order to have a more personal understanding of the life and teachings of The Savior, Lord Yeshua of Nazareth, the beloved Son of God. We also recommend reading the Gnostic Gospels of Philip, Thomas and Mary Magdalene to complement with the Canonical Gospel books mentioned above.
We look forward to the day when we are all one in The Lord’s spirit of peace and love, being His disciples and friends who will take on His task of making more disciples – people who abide in His words, people who are freed by His truth.
May you always receive The Christ’s peace, love and joy when you make Gospel reading a part of your life as a disciple.