Monday, December 14, 2015

What a Disciple of Jesus Looks Like

Some of our Redeemer kids on Sunday morning (12/13/15)
Jesus came to make disciples, not "deciders." I've seen way too many people who "decided" to follow Jesus but never did. Disciples, on the other hand, live lives that are productive and reproductive. They reproduce the life of Christ in others. They make disciples. This is Real Church, a disciple-making community. What do disciples of Christ look like?

A disciple looks like their teacher. Disciples do what their teacher does. Jesus says, "whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12) That makes sense, since a disciple will do the stuff their teacher has been doing.

In my serious guitar-playing days I was playing somewhere in the Midwest, every weekend, for a stretch of 10 years. I remember one guy who saw me play and wanted to take lessons from me. He wanted to play like me. I was teaching at Nielsen's Music Studio at the time. He made an appointment and took a series of lessons. I taught him to do what I did. That is the essence of the teacher-disciple relationship.

Jesus taught his disciples to do what he did, in the way he did things. "This is how you will know that you are my disciples," Jesus said, "by how you love one another." A disciple of Jesus loves like Jesus loves. 

A disciple of Jesus casts out demons, thereby freeing people from oppression and the things that inwardly plague them. Disciples of Jesus experience God healing people physically, through them. In Luke chapters 9 and 10 Jesus sends out his disciples to do what he has been doing. This is like sending my guitar students out to do their first public gig. It's time to perform. It's time for you to do the stuff, instead of watching me do it.

Jesus' disciples saw Jesus loving people, delivering people from demonic oppression, and healing people physically. They even saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the grave. Since they were followers of Jesus they naturally wanted to do the same, out of love. So Jesus discipled them to do the same things he did.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, 
he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 
and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 9:1-2

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. 
Luke 9:10

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go... 
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’...
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 
“Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 
Luke 10:1, 9, 17

George Ladd writes: “Jesus’s ministry and announcement of the Good News of the Kingdom were characterized by healing, and most notably by the casting out of demons. He proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and He demonstrated the Good News of the Kingdom of God by delivering men from the bondage of Satan.” (Ladd, Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God, 47. Emphasis mine.)

British New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham writes: Jesus "saw the kingdom arriving in the sorts of things he was doing: bringing God’s healing and forgiveness into the lives of people he met, reaching out to those who were pushed to the margins of God’s people, gathering a community in which service would replace status. These are the sorts of things that happen when God rules."  (Bauckham, Jesus: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38. Emphasis mine. And, BTW, this is a beautiful little book on the Real Jesus. Tolle lege!!!)

These are the sorts of things that happen in the life of a disciple of Christ, because they are the things our Teacher did:

  • Love
  • Proclaim the Good News of God's Kingdom
  • Deliver people from demonic oppression and darkness
  • Heal people physically
And raise the dead. (Yesterday morning at Redeemer one of our family members shared a testimony of seeing this happen last week, at least as far as they could determine.)

Disciples of Jesus look like Jesus.

Jesus' Church makes disciples.