4 comments on “When they came to the crowd…

  1. I see your point but would not agree with the term “disciples “. Jesus had disciples also called apostles. Disciples followed Jesus but Jesus is no longer here to follow. Jesus is in heaven and he sent the Holy Spirit to believers now and we are ambassadors for Christ as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:20. Unlike a disciples or apostle who is following Christ physically on earth, we as ambassadors are representatives of a sovereign, the King of all kings. There is a difference in the terminology and I do not mean to split hairs, just noting.

    • You raise a very interesting point; thank you for bringing it up!

      What is a “disciple”? What is an “Apostle”?

      They are not the same thing, that’s for sure. The disciples in Matt. 17 were not yet apostles; that came later, and we are not apostles, for they were given authority and gifts we do not have. Yet we are most certainly “disciples” if we are His followers… and that also applies to Paul’s metaphor of being “ambassadors”. Here’s why:

      Back in ancient times, teachers, both Jew and Gentile, had “disciples” who literally were taught at the Master’s (teacher’s, Rabbi’s) feet. They lived together, ate together and spent a great deal of time in relationship together, and in the end, the disciples came to be known as people who “knew what the Master knew, and did what the Master did.” In short, they in their turn would take on their own “disciples” and teach the lessons of their “Master”; they made more disciples, who in their turn, would make more disciples, and in this way, the teachings of the master would be taught far and wide. The disciples of Jesus became apostles, yes, but don’t be confused by that; they still made disciples, who in turn made more disciples, and that is how the Gospel was spread throughout the known world.

      We, as His disciples, are taught to make more disciples through having relationships with others. This is how we teach the Gospel to those who haven’t received it before, and how we nurture new believers into maturity in the faith; just like we are doing here right now. At a certain point, the “student” becomes the teacher; disciples who make disciples. We do not have apostles to teach us now, but we have His Word in the New Testament (that they did not yet have), and that is what we teach as His disciples.

      In short then where “apostle” is an “office (if I might use that term), “disciple” is not, for it is the Christian way of life, not an “office”, and that is the sense in which I used the terms. Thank you again for bringing that up as there may well be others with the same confusion!

  2. Don, what you’ve written here is so important. I’d like to take this one step further, if I may.

    When Jesus told his apostles to “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20), I think some confuse this with making converts. The two are vastly different.

    I agree with your definition of disciples. Unfortunately, many only wish to convert; that is to increase the number of bodies in their church seats, never bothering to teach new converts the Gospel, never instructing them about the Bible, never introducing them to the heart of God. Those “converted” are left to flounder, wondering what happened.

    If we truly are to make disciples, our priority must be as you said; love and relationships first; then “nurture new believers into maturity in the faith.”

    • Thank you Susan, I think you’re quite right, for all too often we forget that coming to believe in Jesus isn’t the end of the story, but the beginning. For the most part, it is easier to bring a person to belief than it is to bring them to maturity… and most never seem to get there

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