"I have no other plan. I am counting on them"


When Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His people, the Church of the Living God, with a job to do. He said,


18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19Thereforego and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).


It is this writer’s belief that the great need of our day is for the equippers—the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12) to be serious about the training and equipping of the church to do the work of the ministry. The Body of Christ is to be students of the Word of God and faithful disciples, looking to the Scriptures as our guideline for living. The emphasis on Jesus’ words is for people worldwide to come to the Lord Jesus, receive the gift of new life in Christ, and become disciples. So that leads us to a critical question:


WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?


dis·ci·ple (dis-'ī-pəl) n. 1.a. One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.[1]


The Greek word for ‘disciple’ (‘mathetes’) was used before the time of Christ to denote a ‘follower’ or ‘student’ of a particular teacher or philosopher. The disciple was responsible for putting the Master’s teaching into practice and passing his teaching along to others. Disciples are called to champion the cause, reproduce the skills, and propagate their teacher's instruction. They receive their teacher's flame, carry the torch, and pass along the same fire to others to run with it.

There is an old legend that takes us back in time and recounts the time when Jesus ascended back into heaven after He had died on the cross and rose from the dead. According to the legend, the angel Gabriel met Him. Gabriel frowned when he saw the marks of Jesus' scars of His torturous years on earth, especially the wounds of His crucifixion. Gabriel said, "Master, you suffered terribly for those down on earth." "Yes, I did," was Jesus' reply. Gabriel continued, "Do they all know now about your life and your forgiveness? Have they all heard about your death and resurrection?" "No, not yet," said Jesus. "Right now, only a handful of people in Palestine know about my death and resurrection."


Gabriel looked perplexed. "Then," he asked, "Well… How will everyone find out about your wonderful life and your sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection?" "I have asked Peter, James, John, and a handful of friends and followers to tell other people about it. And when other people hear and believe, they, in turn, will tell others. And Gabriel, by and by, the planet earth will hear the message." Still frowning, the angel responded, "But, hmmm, you know how people are on earth. What if they… What if Peter, James, and John get tired? What if they tell the story, and then the next generation gets all involved in other pursuits? What if way down in the 18th or 21st century, people aren't committed any longer to your commission? Have you made other plans?" The Lamb of God looked directly at the angel of God and said, "I have no other plan. I am counting on them" (Author Unknown). He is counting on all of the body of Christ serving and sharing the message of the gospel.


Taken from the Discipleship series, Study 1, Called to Fruitfulness

[1] Definitions are from the American Heritage Dictionary