What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 8

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”


When I am studying a passage of scripture, and I want to understand what it means, I take the passage and refer to it in its original language. Here this passage was written in Greek. So, Matthew 28:20 is

διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.

And a direct translation from Greek of this passage reads, “And behold, I with you am all the days, until the completion of the age.” Next, I look at the meaning of keywords in Greek.

Behold – to see, perceive, attend to, experience, discern

I – the first-person pronoun (Jesus was speaking)

With – among, in company with

All – every, the whole, every kind of

Until – as far as up to

Completion – a joint payment, consummation, end

Age – a cycle of time, one of a series of ages stretching to infinity

So, in straining to understand this passage, I reword the selection using the definitions provided. I could say I am to perceive that Jesus is with me in total every day until this series in time passes to the next series in time in the grand scheme that stretches to infinity.

What do I see

What does this mean for you and me? Do I perceive that Jesus is totally and completely with me daily in my relationship with Christ? The definition of perceiving is to become aware of something directly through your senses, primarily through sight and hearing. Do I see or hear Christ every day in my life? I want to go with a churchy answer and say, “of course I do!” But to be honest my everyday life, I would say I struggle with seeing tangible evidence of Jesus being with me. What evidence do I even look for?

Should I notice that a parking space opened up when I pleaded with God not to walk a mile into the store? Is that evidence of Jesus in my daily life? That seems like a Santa Clauseish view of God and Jesus. Does he care for me? Absolutely! Does getting a closer parking space advance the kingdom of God and give me evidence of Jesus for the day? I offer pause on answering yes. On the flip side, does a terminally ill child not being healed through prayer prove the absence of God or Jesus in everyday life? I’m not sure that it does.


Maybe perceiving Jesus daily takes more than what is happening around me. Could it be that I can still have peace and joy in good or bad circumstances? Should I still notice the happening and embrace the blessing or trial? And in the happening, have the knowledge Jesus is with me and use the experience to help someone else? My perception should be based on my ability to know God and how he works in others. To see a need in someone else and to fulfill that need spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

I guess I am trying to say that if we are the actual church body, then we should be representing Jesus. Our daily pursuit of Christ should be the thing that everyone sees, and that would be enough for everyone to say, “Oh, there go those Christian people. They just overflow with love for everyone.” But I’m afraid we have fallen far into selfishness from secular culture. We live in denial of our pain and the pain of those around us. Our self-medication in every indulgence to numb our emotional hurts and become highly ineffective in our ministry. We can’t see or display Jesus because we can’t get past ourselves.


Some of us desperately need an “Aha!” moment. A moment of clarity with Christ changes their trajectory from one of self-medication to one of others’ motivation. What if the only perception of Jesus for others was you? Yes, the heavens declare Your glory, but we should be in the world and not of it. Would others see any glimpse of who Jesus is in your life? Could they see an eternity future from what you display? Is that eternity with Christ? What keeps you from being a whole-hearted committed Christ-follower who picks up their cross daily? What are you going to do about it?


Father, we are desperate people in need of You. I pray that Your church will turn and focus on You. That we would wholeheartedly pursue what it means to be Christ-like. That we would lay down anything that separates us from You. And in doing so, we are effective in the Kingdom of God. Nothing of our strength or even victories by human standards. But to be who you called to be. How could the community I live in be different, from the city to parish, to state, and the country? If we would surrender to You? Move among your people and teach us what it means to be a light in a dark place. Amen.

What does it mean to be discipled?

Count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ!

7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-11

In this passage, Paul has reminded us that the most significant gain in life is knowledge. A knowledge that every selfish pursuit up to this point in life is an absolute dung heap that leads to the trash. Everything done in my vanity and pride is utter waste. Anything that I do to bring me salvation or righteousness is futile. Only with my faith in God and my belief in Christ will I be saved and made right with God. And as I grow in my knowledge of God and in my conformity to be Christ-like, I will be conformed to His death to attain the resurrection from the dead. I can know Christ and the power of His resurrection, but I must also know the fellowship of His sufferings.

Counting questions…

What am I trying to gain in this life? Do I need more money, or do I need a bigger house? What is the best car I buy? When can I get the next most fantastic cell phone coming out? How much stuff can I acquire in a lifetime? What is the number of trips I can squeeze in before I die? Is there a magic number that I can reach in my bank account to say, “finally, I have enough?” Why do we pursue these things in our life that will never bring fulfillment? Maybe we feel we have lost something. Could we be trying to feel valuable or significant before we die?

We want to know we mattered in that dash between our birth date and death date. Our problem is that we were born with a God-sized hole in us on that birth date. And we do our best to earn something that will fill that hole. Our more significant problem in filling that hole is our lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and our boastful pride of life; we avoid the One who could fill that hole.

You are here ->

I came to a point in life where I accepted the saving grace of a Holy God. And from that point on, I am being conformed to Christlikeness. Every day means I should look a little more like Jesus than the day before. And instead of counting wins and losses by what I think I should or shouldn’t have, I need to see life through the lens of Christ. If that means I must give up some luxury in my life because it means I will draw closer to Jesus, so be it.

When I draw close, I get to know God more. I want the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. And whatever I think I lost in the process of following Him is not losing at all. Knowing Christ is living as He did. I can’t take anything with me when I die except the knowledge that I will be in His presence. How am I going to live my life in this dash? Trying to earn something, or living with the hope of Jesus in me?


Father, we are prideful selfish people. We vainly attempt to find worthless substitutes for a Mighty God. Clutter, activities, and provision fill our eyes and minds to the point that we can’t see you anymore. Get the things out of our way so that our relationship and knowledge of Christ become our life priority. Amen.

Evening Sunset – Credit Kristen Weidner
Jesus - The Answer to Unbelief

Whoever believes – The Answer to Unbelief

13No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

John 3:13-17

In Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus is revealing His soon death on a cross. He tells Nicodemus that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will have eternal life. They will believe that He suffered God’s wrath for us and died on a cross. That through His death, I can be forgiven for my sins. In verse 14, Jesus refers to Moses lifting the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9). This was a time when Israel had sinned against the LORD. This lifting of the pole with the serpent was a symbol. It was a banner of hope for those that had rebelled against God. They could be forgiven for their sins if they believed and looked at the serpent. Some of the people did not look and died from the serpent bites. Others lived because they did believe in this banner of hope and lifted their eyes to it.

Rebellious People!

Today we are still a rebellious people. We receive blessings of goodness from a good Father. Then instantly turn to the side and grumble and complain in the pit of entitlement. What are we owed? We find ourselves in challenging situations. We’re confused about what it means to have a good Father in heaven who cares about us. And when things don’t go our way, we kick and scream and shake our fists to the heavens. We begin demanding what we think should be our relief.

Instead, we should be embracing the pain of life. Not chasing what we think will dull the pain. Is life hard, absolutely? Should it be pain-free? Why would we believe that? My God and savior stepped out of heaven into a broken world and was dealt the same pains that I deal with today. I find that comforting. To know that my savior understands what rejection is. The builders rejected the cornerstone (Mark 12:10). Our faith is built on God’s son, who His people rejected, and those that did accept Him seemed very confused the whole time He was walking the earth in human form. But whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.

A new banner of Hope!

So, when I feel insecure and insignificant because of rejection, I know my belief lies in a new banner of hope! Hope is found in the Son of God, Jesus, hanging from a pole. He was beaten, abused, ridiculed, rejected, and heartbroken. I can find peace because my Jesus is right there in my pain. He knows the pain of rejection and humiliation. Through His actions, something meant to kill and destroy became a thing of beauty. Oh, that wondrous cross today, that symbol of suffering and shame, is dear to me. The answer to my unbelief is knowing the truth; God loves me some much He poured out wrath that was due me; on His son. The pain of His son dying on a cross is more bearable than allowing all of humanity no path to redemption.


Father, help me when my belief begins to waver. Lead me through those moments when I think you are not there. Remind me that my purpose is knowing Christ and not dulling the pain of life. Teach me that the pain I’m dealing with can be turned into beauty in those moments. Teach me to use my pains as an opportunity to minister to others. Refine us to find hope and do what is pleasing in your sight. I surrender so my life will look more like Jesus today than yesterday. Amen

Whoever believes in me, Jesus - The Answer to Unbelief
Hope over coffee – John 3