Ask yourself this: What does “disciple” mean in my group?
Welcome to “Inside The Cup Podcast” with Mike and Holly Walsh
Season 1: “How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”
Episode 2: “What Is a Disciple”
If the way to become a loving person is to become a disciple of Jesus, then we must start with a clear picture of what a disciple is.
Holly and Mike propose this definition of a disciple:
“I am a disciple of Jesus if I’m spending time with him, becoming more like him, and learning how to live my life from him.”
The term “disciple” is then compared with the term “Christian,” where it has now become possible to become a Christian, but choose not to be a disciple.
Mike and Holly discuss 3 markers Jesus himself gave to identify who his disciples are. And then the concept of disciple is personalized. Can we imagine Jesus living our lives? He could do it. And if we take the definition from above, we will be learning from Jesus how to go about living our real lives.
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Inside The Cup Podcast ©2022, All Rights Reserved
What Is a Disciple? Episode 2, (03/10/22)
Season 1: How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Mike: Welcome back to Inside The Cup Podcast. This is episode two of our first season, “How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.” So, last time in episode one, we found that the way to love your neighbor as yourself is to become filled with God’s agape love. And the way that you become filled with God’s love is to become a disciple. So, today we’re going to take some time talking about “What is a disciple?”
Holly: And, “Is a disciple different from the term ‘Christian’?”
Mike: Yeah. So let’s take that first. Right. Because probably the the first reaction of a lot of people, if you ask them in any kind of church, “are you a disciple?” would probably be: “Of course I’m a disciple. I’m a Christian.” So, then we have to tackle that issue, is the reality there? Is what we’re calling a Christian now the same thing as what was a disciple?
Holly: I think they were supposed to be the same, but I believe they have become different things.
Mike: As an artifact over time, right? When it…when it first started in the Bible, it was disciples of Jesus who were referred to as Christians. So, the original intent was clear, they were supposed to be synonymous and be talking about the same thing. But I think, you know, we’ll talk about it in some more detail today, it looks like that’s maybe not the case now. That you could actually be a Christian and not be a disciple.
Holly: So, what would be a good definition of disciple?
Mike: Yeah. So that’s one thing that I just really want to push in this podcast is to be really clear about defining our terms. So, let’s start with that, right? So, the definition for a disciple. Here’s the definition that I’m going to propose. So, I am a disciple of Jesus If I’m spending time with him, becoming more like him, and learning how to live my life from him. That’s what makes me a disciple.
Holly: And a quote from Dallas Willard on the definition of a Christian is: “A Christian today is someone who professes to accept as true, the beliefs of some identifiable Christian group.”
Mike: Yeah. So that’s a pretty…That can actually seem like kind of a harsh description of what a Christian is, or maybe somewhat kind of detached or cold. But I mean look at it. So, you’re professing to accept as true, so you’re professing that you believe the beliefs, of some kind of Christian group. And that can mean any number of different things, right? So, if the Christian group in question believes a certain way politically, or certain kind of religious practices, or whatever, you name it. If that’s the definition, then if I’m professing to accept as true what that group believes, that makes me a Christian.
Holly: But really, it’s not the term that is so important, but really the reality behind the term.
Mike: Yeah, that’s important to talk about, right? This isn’t an attack on the word Christian. We don’t want to come across as that. What we’re really after is the reality behind the term. So, you know what we’ve suggested as the definition for disciple: “being with Jesus, spending time with him, becoming more like Jesus, and learning from Jesus how to live our life,” is the reality that we’re after. So, if it turns out that…
Holly: The Christian is a disciple, then the Christian is just fine.
Mike: Yeah, the term Christian is just fine, as long as the reality is there. There’s three specific instances where Jesus talks about who is his disciple. And we could take these as markers from Jesus on what a disciple would be, or what his disciple would be. So.
Holly: One comes from John 8:31, “If you hold to my teaching.” Another one, “If you love one another” from John 13:35, and if “you bear much fruit.” So, if you hold to my teaching, if you love one another, and if you bear much fruit. That’s what Jesus said about who his disciples are.
Mike: And that last one, if you “bear much fruit” John 15:8. So, those are three different references in the book of John, where Jesus is describing who his disciples would be. And I think, I mean, hang through this here, because I think where we come out here talking about discipleship to Jesus…The aim will be going after these three things that Jesus was talking about. I mean, look at it, if you if you hold to my teaching. If you continue in my word, if you follow in my teaching, that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to learn the things that Jesus taught. If you love one another, that’s what this whole season one is going to be devoted to. And if you bear much fruit, we’ll find out towards the end of this season that that’s going to be an outcome of becoming a loving person, is that you will bear the fruit of the Spirit.
Holly: So, this is for everyone, to bear much fruit. As a disciple of Jesus.
Mike: Yeah, this is for all disciples.
Holly: Whether you’re a waitress, or a plumber, or stay-at-home mom, or…or a doctor.
Mike: Yeah, regardless, if you are a disciple of Jesus, this is for you, period. So, now let’s personalize this. If I’m…If I’m looking at this. The definition, right? So go back to it. I’m…”I’m a disciple of Jesus if I’m spending time with Jesus, becoming more like him, and learning how to live my life from him.” So, my life. I’m a father of four, a husband, I’m a psychiatrist. How would Jesus be an outpatient psychiatrist in small town Iowa? I mean, that makes it real practical to my life. I’m actually learning from Jesus how he would live my life if he were a psychiatrist in small-town, Iowa.
Holly: So, you’re imagining Jesus living your life. As a psychiatrist, and as a dad, and a husband.
Mike: Yeah, I think that’s going to be the initial stage of it is…Is just almost like kind of wrapping your brain around that, you know, like, can I actually imagine Jesus living my life? When we go further through this, we’re going to be learning from him, you know, actively learning as his student, how to live our life. But that’s probably the first step is: “Can I even picture Jesus living my life?”
Holly: Yeah. Can I picture Jesus doing laundry, and playing with children, and doing dishes, and helping with homework, and making sure they brush their teeth? Can I picture that? It’s a little funny to picture Jesus doing some of those things, but I have to imagine that he would be able to live my life pretty well.
Mike: Yeah, even if it’s a stretch, I think that’s the invitation for everybody is really imagine…Try to imagine Jesus living your life. That’s going to be the first step here as a disciple. So, I mean in your case, imagining Jesus as a stay-at-home mother of four, that’s…that might kind of blow some people’s categories for who Jesus is, to imagine him in that role. But he could do it. And not just he could do it, but he’s going to teach you how to do it. Well, and now let’s tie it into last episode. If the task at hand for disciples is to follow the Great Commission. Then we’re taking the first part, make disciples, and we want…We want to be really clear on what a disciple is if we’re going to make disciples, but now disciples are going to be learning how to follow the Great Commission. And that includes police officers, and teachers, and you name it. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re a disciple of Jesus, you’re going to be learning how to follow the Great Commission in your everyday life. So, the idea, as clearly as we can make it, is: your real life, your everyday life, needs to be the field for discipleship. So, Jesus is going to come to your everyday, waking, eating, sleeping life, and is going to teach you right there as his disciple. And what he’s going to teach us is how to follow his commands. And the outcome of that, we’re going to be changed or transformed into a better, a good person, through this process.
Holly: I think we have a clear picture of what a disciple is. Would you say we do?
Mike: Yeah. So, let’s take this picture of “disciple” that we laid out today, and “Is this for me? Is this something I’m up for? Or something I’m ready to take on?”
Music: Vlad Gluschenko — Travelling
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en