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  • Make what of who? - By Andrew Smith

    Go make what of who? Disciples... Of all nations! Christ makes a defining statement to his friends as He prepares to return to His (and our) Father, in order to send us the person - Holy Spirit (a blog for another day). He said 'go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (‭Matt 28‬v19-20‬ NLT)

    A power packed scripture right there, so lets first look at what we mean by disciple. In the Greek world at the time of Christ, the word “disciple” referred to an adherent to a particular teacher or religious/philosophical school. It was the task of the disciple to learn, study, and pass along the sayings and teachings of the 'master'. In rabbinic Judaism the term “disciple” referred to one who was committed to the interpretations of Scripture and religious tradition given him by his rabbi. Through a process of learning, at set meeting times with questions, answers, instruction, repetition, and memorization, the disciple would become increasingly devoted to the rabbi and his teachings. In time, the disciple would, likewise, gain rabbinical status, and pass on the traditions to others.[1]

    Sounds intriguing doesn't it! So how did one become a disciple in the time of Christ. Well, I'm glad you ask! First of all, you didn't choose your rabbi, they chose you!... That's if you showed sufficient promise. Training methods were referred to as 'yokes'. To become a rabbi yourself, one would have to adjust current mindsets and behaviours to sufficiently emulate their rabbi.[2]

    Hopefully by now revelation of all sorts is flooding your heart and mind as you consider the many scriptures that come to mind! One such for me is Paul's statement in Ephesians 1v4 "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes"(‭NLT). What I find astounding about Christ's statement is He was entrusting rabbinical status to his followers and accepting all humanity into His school of discipleship! His premise for this? 'All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me' (v19). In Christ, we are complete already. Wow! A multitude of mini Jesus rabbis notifying the world of their inclusion and outworking our gifted status as community through prayer, worship, edification and service.

    I find the importance of inclusion of 'all' a key mindset we could do well to further develop as the church. Do we view our fellow man as sinners, or children made in the image of God himself, for whom he eagerly wants to see growing under his yoke of freedom, not their blind yoke of slavery? Freedom for all! So we are greatly blessed and in receipt of a holy task, to be an make disciples. The force is strong with us young Jedi's [3] for Christ himself is in us, for us and with us!

    References:

    [1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Disciples'. Holman Bible Dictionary 1991. [2] Time Magazine, 1947. [3] Star Wars, Ep VI, 1987.