On Being a Disciple

A disciple is, by definition, someone who follows and learns from a master with the aim of becoming like the master.  Christian disciples follow and learn from Jesus with the aim of becoming like Him.

If you want to be a disciple then the Gospels are paramount.  And there can be few more succinct and challenging passages about what it means to be like Jesus than in John 5:30.

At this point there is a good argument to be made for just throwing up your hands and forgetting all about this discipleship thing.  How on earth can anyone do nothing of themselves?  Thank God for the Cross because if this is the standard then none of us have a hope in …..

But with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

There are some keys to discipleship in this verse.  One of the main ones is that if you want to get your judgments right you had better not be seeking your own way over God’s.

Context is, of course, critical.  The overarching context is John’s gospel.  When it comes to the four gospels, one of these is not the same as the others.  John’s gospel stands out for its emphasis on the deity of Christ and its focus on the inner life and motivations of Jesus.  It is the most intimate of the gospels with a miraculous recording of the words of Jesus.  The impression you get reading it is that John is repeating verbatim what Jesus said and that it is the Holy Spirit that is inspiring him word by word.  In other words John is practicing what Jesus preached:  John is saying only what he hears from his Father.

Which brings me to the other more immediate context.  This passage starts with another “impossible” statement of what it means to be a disciple:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”  (John 5:19, NASB).

So, perhaps in this lies the secret.  If you are born again (another great theme of John’s gospel) you become a child of God.  Like any child you will end up doing what you see your Father doing.

“Love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

“When you pray, pray like this:  Our Father…..”

Being a disciple is not for the faint hearted.  It is for children.


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