Mark 3.13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. [nkjv]
I had a pizza delivery guy come to the door one night. After a long day, cooking was the last thing I felt like doing, so had decided to order pizza. The pizza delivery guy kept smiling at me and then looked like he was going to ask me something. It was awkward. I quickly paid him his money and went inside to eat the pizza. Maybe it was the way he was dressed, or the way he spoke, or his friendly nature but when I mentioned the incident to Cathy, I remember saying to her, “He was either a christian or gay!”
I find it really amazing the labels we put on people. We have these typical stereotypes locked away in our head which influence us constantly. We hate it when people do the same to us.
As Christians, when Jesus calls us to Himself there should only be one label we place on ourselves – disciple.
A disciple is a learner, a student, but in the first century a student did not simply study a subject; he followed a teacher. There is an element of personal attachment in ‘disciple’ that is lacking in ‘student. A true disciple is someone who lays down his own beliefs, agenda and follows after his Rabbi.
A Rabbi would only choose those who he thought could fully measure up to his standard of beliefs and eventually become just like him. If you were judged by a Rabbi to have the potential, then he would say to you, ‘follow me’. These two little words would literally change your life. They meant, “I see in you the potential to be just like me. Come and be with me as my disciple and submit to my authoritative teachings.” To the young Jewish lad, this meant total surrender. Using a computer analogy, he would willingly delete everything in his hard drive of what he previously thought was ‘right’ and ‘true’ and upload whatever the his Rabbi held to be ‘right’ and ‘true’.
A true disciple of Jesus is one who surrenders totally to Him and His way of seeing and doing things. A disciple comes with a willing desire to conform all aspects of their life to the authoritative Lordship of Jesus Christ. I’m not talking about following a system of legalistic rules. To Jesus, righteousness was a matter of heart.
So the central issue is this, “Am I prepared to willingly surrender every aspect of my life, including my worldview, career, personality, character, ethics, desires, motivations, values, sexuality, family, ego and attitudes to the authority of Jesus and His teachings?
An invitation has been extended to us by our Rabbi, Jesus. He says to us in John 15.16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you”. He sees in us the potential to be just like Him. Am I willing to lay down all and become His disciple?
If I’m not prepared to do that then maybe the label I need to use for my life is – believer.