All quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This is the promise of the new covenant which God is making with those who are His people – those who were not His people but now are the people of God.
He is saying that we shall no more teach one another but instead be taught directly by God who is the Spirit. If we are to become pupils we need a teacher. The word disciple simply means a pupil. But we can’t be pupils without a teacher in the same way that no-one is a teacher without pupils. This covenant is fulfilled through the coming of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the One who baptises in the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
The Lord Jesus makes it clear that the consequences of hearing and obeying – carrying out – the decrees of God given through His Son, are deadly serious. Many like to hear what Jesus has to say but few listen in order to obey. Many just want to know what His word is out of curiosity.
We are offered a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom to know is eternal life. This relationship is that of being His disciple – pupil - the Teacher being Christ Himself.
No amount of good or even great works in the name of Jesus can be a substitute for knowing Him as Teacher – being His disciple.
Matthew 10:24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.
As pupils – disciples of Jesus we can never be equal to Him but we can become like Him by listening to Him and carrying out what He commands us.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Here the Lord Jesus invites all who will humble themselves to become His disciples – pupils.
In religious circles many attempt to understand great mysteries like that of the nature of God Himself. Only by listening to and learning directly from the indwelling Christ do we obtain revelation of the things which are hidden.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The mission of Jesus Christ for over three years had focused on making and baptising disciples – pupils. The mission given to these was to go make and baptise disciples – pupils from all nations. It is not a mission of building churches or institutions but turning those in darkness towards the light of the Son of God Who instructs in the ways of Life.
Luke 14:25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life (literally soul) also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Not everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is prepared to do what it takes in order to be His disciple – pupil.
Jesus tells us we must love our neighbour and even our enemy – so hating our father etc is not literally to despise and wish evil on them, It is to appear to not love them when it come to a choice of pleasing them or continuing as a disciple of Jesus, hearing what He commands and doing it no matter whom it upsets.
Jesus warns us so we can make a decision, to know if we are prepared to do whatever it takes before starting. If we do take a good look at what it will cost to follow and be taught by Jesus He will give us grace to do the seemingly impossible.
To hate our own soul also is the heart of the issue. Our souls dictate our actions by wanting this, hating that. Learning to humble our souls is core to taking up our cross and following the Master.
Luke 18:15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Young pupils often take to being instructed better than ‘mature students’. Generally the young child is eager to learn while older folks may believe they already know all they need to know and resist instruction. If we are older then we have to humble ourselves down to the level of young children. God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.
John 4:1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples).
Making disciples began with them being baptised, in this case clearly by the disciples – pupils of Jesus - in His name – that is with His authority to remit – release from the debt – sins; washing sins away calling on the name of the Lord.
John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
This is an example of a disciple of Jesus telling others the good news of Jesus Christ and then those in turn becoming disciples of Jesus Christ when they hear from Him directly.
John 6:65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
There is a reason to take up the cross and follow after Jesus. He alone has the words of eternal life. Those who only are attracted to Him because of the benefits of miracles, being in a comfortable social group etc will stop when the going gets tough.
Those who listen to receive His word, seeking Him in the secret place receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save their souls.
John 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The title ‘Son of Man’ is a title given to prophets in the Old Testament. Those who spoke the commands of God. Here Jesus the Son of God is showing us that He is our example in hearing, being taught by God His Father Himself and doing what He is commanded.
By continuing in things that Jesus now teaches us by His Spirit we are truly those who learn from Him. And He is with us always, even to the end of the age.
James 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
By dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, taking time to listen to the Lord Who is the Spirit, then carrying out His instruction we will be those blessed of God in all we do.
Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Here Peter is inviting those who received the message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ to become disciples – pupils of Jesus.
The Jews who heard this knew that they would become disciples of whoever’s name they were being baptised into.
When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth Who takes the words of Christ and reveals them – we have Christ within us to lead and teach us the words of eternal life.
We are called to follow and be taught by One Teacher, the Anointed One, Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord, Whom to know is eternal life.
To discuss this or any other matter regarding the good news of Jesus Christ please email;
Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England.
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