Tag Archives: discipleship

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:25-27, NIV)

A disciple is a follower.  A disciple aspires to be exactly like his or her teacher.  As Jesus is Truth, we must be scrupulously truthful — and everything else He is, including a cross-bearer.  Anything less is not true discipleship.  Anything else is not obedience.

A disciple is holy.  The disciple’s holiness is measured in the points of similarity to his or her teacher; and in the degree of difference from the “common way” in his or her way of thinking (e. g. love for enemies, blessings for curses, concern for the poor, readiness to reconcile, etc. . .).

Today’s scripture takes us to the bedrock of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus: Holiness, obedience, and cross-bearing.  – Luther

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“If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”  (Mark 8:38, NLT)

In today’s reading, Jesus illustrates for us the following principle: The relationships and values that we esteem in this life are the relationships and values that we shall inherit in eternity.  In other words: If we are ashamed of Jesus and all that He stands for here in “time”; we shall forfeit Him for all of eternity because He will be ashamed of us in heaven’s eternity for us having been ashamed of Him during our time on earth.

The Christian disciple’s challenge in these “adulterous and sinful days” is to be faithful to Jesus and to His message in all that we say, and in all that we do.

This means that with joy, we love our enemies — all of them — as He did.  This means that with boldness, we seek reconciliation — always — as He did.  This means that with confidence, we pray for those who abuse us — as He did.

May we be as Paul declared to the Christians in Rome: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God to bring salvation to everyone that believes.”  (Romans 1:16a)  – Luther

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“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 18:1-4, NIV)

To live in the kingdom of heaven (also called the kingdom of God) is to live under the authority of God.  That is, to obey God, and to have faith in God’s goodness.

As a vestige of our corrupted nature, all of us have a problem with authority.  If we do not, it is because somewhere, sometime, we made a change against our nature.

Today’s scripture reminds us that entrance into the place where God rules requires that we first “change and become like little children.”  A true child is humble, obedient, trusting, inquisitive, and in the moment.  In the kingdom of heaven, the last are first; and the least are the greatest.

The kingdom of heaven is the Christian disciple’s true home.  – Luther

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