Word of the Week: Disciple


When the Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff  first came to the United States he jokes that he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores.

“On my first shopping trip” he says, “I saw powdered milk–you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice–you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!” 

We our spoiled by the number of things that are instant! We want it now! While that may be good for some products and services, it isn’t feasible when it comes to character.  Personal Growth.  And  Christian discipleship.

Our word of the week is “Disciple.”

This month the disciples where I preach are reading the books of Luke and John.  I am struck by the number of time these two writers use the word “disciple” or “disciples.” Over 120 times followers of Jesus are described as disciples!  Consider what these two Bible writers teach us about discipleship. 

(1) A Disciple is one who learns. Jesus said, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (Jn 6:45). By definition a disciple is “one who is a pupil or learner, the adherent of the doctrines of another.” A disciple is a student who is a constant and continual learner.

(2) A Disciple is one who is trained. Jesus said, “A Disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Lk. 6:40).  Training is necessary. “Bill Hull said that discipleship is ”the intentional training of disciples, with accountability, on the basis of loving relationships.” While there is a personal accountability for our growth, there is also a collective obligation.  But this takes time.  Effort. Energy.  Study.  It’s not accidental.  Or haphazard. It’s done on purpose.  With intentionality.

(3) A Disciple is one who follows.  The call of Christ to Philip was “follow me” (John 1:23). This was the same appeal to Peter.  Andrew.  James.  And John.   A faithful disciple follows the object of his discipline.  Spiritual disciples who call themselves Christians, follow Christ.

(4) A Disciple is one who humbly serves others.  Jesus forever taught this lesson in John 13 when he washed his own disciples feet.  The scene was the last supper.  Other accounts record that the apostles had been arguing over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom.

Following supper and without a word of rebuke, Jesus took a towel, a basin of water, and knelt to wash their feet.  When he finished he asked, “Do you know what I have done to you?”  Then he told them.

 “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.   If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  (John 13:12-17).

Disciples serve.  Minister.  Get on their knees if necessary.  Get their hands dirty.  And don’t worry about who’s the greatest!

(5) Disciples love one another.  Following the foot washing demonstration Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)

How did Jesus love?  Selflessly.  Sacrificially.  Unconditionally. Patrick Morely was right when he wrote.   “The height of our love for God will never exceed the depth of our love for one another” 

(6) Disciples are Committed to Christ.  How committed?  To what extent?  Jesus plainly teaches in Luke 14:23-26 that our commitment must be complete.  Total. Absolute.  Committed above possessions.  Committed above family ties.  Committed above trials.  Even committed above one’s very own life.

(7) Disciples Bear fruit.  Jesus’ discourse, on the way to the cross, about the vine and the branches clearly teach that He expects us to be more than faithful.  We must be fruitful.  He said,“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples.”

Are you a Disciple of Christ?  If not, would you be His Disciple?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

If you have any suggestions for “Word of the Week,” please let me know. I would be glad to consider them.


Filed under Discipleship, Word of the Week

4 responses to “Word of the Week: Disciple

  1. J.B.Williams

    Please change my email address to: jbw5404@gmail.com

  2. Terri Lewis from Eastside Church of Christ Baytown, Tx.

    I am really being encouraged by your blog, Ken. Thank you so much for your hard work.

  3. Disciples are people who decided to be disciplined by the word of God and to be acquainted by power to win souls, to heal and experience kingdom provision.

    Remain chosen.

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