John 20: 19-21 (NKJV)
'Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again,
“Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”'
We celebrate Easter this month for which I have chosen for this month's devotional a text on Jesus' appearance to the disciples after His resurrection. These are the same men called to follow Jesus of whom Jesus said He would make fishers of men.
There's a few more people in the group of followers at this point as men and women followed Jesus, called according to gifts and talents given them by God, to change our world. These men who were hiding in fear in our text are the same men called to follow Jesus, yet they are now called His disciples. What changed? Is there a difference between following Jesus and being His disciple?
In that, perhaps there are slight differences between being an ordinary follower and being His disciple. Perhaps, a follower assembles and worships in church on occasion - a disciple is there faithfully without excuse. A follower reads the Bible and prays when in crisis - a disciple reads scripture and prays continually. A follower may twist scripture to fit his/her lifestyle where a disciple will adjust their lifestyle to match scripture. A follower tips God from what is theirs - a disciple gives cheerfully to God what is already His. A follower may buckle under temptation - a disciple resists temptation. A follower commits to doing something but might not if something more enjoyable comes up - a disciple follows through in his/her commitments.
One might conclude being a disciple requires someone especially prepared for that calling while the rest of us follow or get out of the way. I don't think so. Dallas Willard once said, "The disciple of Jesus is not the deluxe or heavy-duty model of the Christian - especially padded, textured, streamlined and empowered for the fast lane on the straight and narrow way". Brothers and sisters in Christ - disciples are ordinary people called by God to do extraordinary things to His glory. Isn't that our collective calling as Christians?
Matthew 28: 19-20 is our collective calling, it says: "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".
As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, may we renew our commitment to Him and become His disciples.
Continuing the work of Jesus Christ
Peacefully, Simply, Together
Peacefully, Simply, Together