Jesus did one thing a bit different than the other Jewis Rabbis. He chose all his disciples. In the century or so before his birth, and then among those contemporaneous to Him, you -to use modern language- applied to be a disciple of rabbi so and so. But Jesus chose The Twelve. The were many others who made up the rest of the 70-something in the outter circle and the hundreds or thousands of onlookers and seekers. But the Gospels tell us HE CHOSE the 12.
However you try to intrepret “choosing” He is still choosing as Paul states to his own disciple Timothy:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” (2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV)
When we study the Gospels and get a handle on what it was like to be His disciple and compare that to modern Christianity, well, the norm of today just doesn’t compare.
For too many “Christians,” being a “Christian” is just a little more than an add-on to the rest of their lives. I think we have history to thank for this. There is little desire to learn. Many church services are more about manipulating experience or following the status quo or teaching through the Bible (‘cuz that’s our thing) than learning to be a disciple. For 50+ years in the USA and beyond, small group are to be communities that – well, the stated purposes are myriad, but how many disciples are made? There is the biblical question.
Jesus said to preach the gospel to all nations. He preached! But he called 12 and taught these learners and empowered them and appointed them… to make disciples as they went, just as He did. As he went. It didn’t happen much in synagogue, it usually happened along the road or across a table. Church is part of discipleship as an incubator of converts who become disciples who make disciples. As disciples we need the gathering of the saints, but disciples are seldom made from pulpits.
Paul was a self proclaimed prisoner to the gospel, he was a called, taught, empowered and appointed. We all should be too.
““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14 ESV)
Are you a disciple of Jesus?
Are you making others into disciples?