|students @ Woolwich Bible College 1963|
The early parts of the Gospels have this “come and see” aspect. You see the person of Jesus under all types of circumstances. You hear of His teachings. You watch His debates and marvel at His miracles. He also gives you areas of responsibility, Matt. 10. Matt.14:13 etc.
How Discipleship is Sifted: John 6: 22-71. Matthew 16:24-26.
It’s great and exciting in the early days and months of being a disciple. See and hear all types of things. Suddenly, you hit the proverbial ‘brick–wall’. It takes at least two forms.
1. Jesus lays out some tough sayings. Some cannot handle them or misunderstand the implications and metaphors. They drop out of class.
2. Then to those who remain comes even harder words: Deny self: Take up your cross: Follow.
In a sense this is the penultimate part of Discipleship. It is also a requirement which is never lifted. It says you are prepared to put to death all your personal ambitions, dreams, lusts and likes to obey Jesus. It says when you have a choice of serving self or obeying Jesus you deny yourself.
The ultimate test is when it seems as though the One you call Lord is beaten in battle and crucified literally or verbally. It’s as though all the teaching has been a fraud and He is either a liar or sad lunatic. Graduation from being a disciple into a follower/soldier etc arrives when the wonder, the reality, the awesome triumph of Jesus and His Word over the tomb and human philosophy grips your heart.
How Discipleship is Celebrated: John 21:12.