If you were to set toddler photographs of me and my son side by side, you’d be tempted to think they were of the same person, save for my parents’ clearly 1980’s fashion sensibilities. From eye color to the location of the cowlick in our hair, it’s as though we were formed from the same mould. The expression “chip off the old block” fits aptly, at least in appearance. Not so much in personality.
But in principle, this sort of likeness is the goal for followers of Jesus — we are to look, act, and speak like someone has chiseled us out of His sturdy character. Jesus summarized this idea in Luke 6:40, “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Jesus’s model of discipleship mirrored the apprenticeship practices common across many disciplines. A key ingredient was time. A disciple of a rabbi or an apprentice of a craftsman would live and work alongside their teacher, “catching” from their lives and practices as much as they were directly taught. Likewise, the Twelve walked alongside Jesus for three years.
But Jesus didn’t desire for only the Twelve to be his disciples. Before the term ‘Christian’ was coined, followers of Jesus were simply called ‘disciples.’ It formed the central identity of this new community.
We are disciples of Jesus. The word disciple means ‘learner,’ indicating that learning ought to be our predominant posture. We endeavor to be with Him — through prayer, regular Scripture reading, gathering with other disciples, cognizance of His constant presence — in order that we might learn to become like Him.
Lord Jesus, I want to be your disciple. Draw me nearer to you, that I might be transformed by your love and grace, that I might learn constantly from you, and that I might better bear your image in all parts of my life. Amen.
Go Deeper — Would people recognize you as a disciple of Christ by looking at your life?
Photo Credit: Elen Aivali