Question: What is Your Definition of a Disciple?
Answer: Let’s see what God’s word says – Jesus said,
“My sheep ‘hear’ My voice,
I ‘know’ them
And they ‘follow’ Me” – (John 10:27).
Jesus’ sheep “hear” – the Biblical meaning of this word is basically to understand. Jesus told His disciples – “Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears for they hear” – (Matthew 13:16). A disciple values God’s word and seeks its meaning.
Jesus “knows” them. There is a relationship between the Lord and the believer. Jesus said – “I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears My voice, ( a disciple is listening and seeking) and opens the door I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). A disciple has responded to Jesus’ knock on the door of his heart and he communes with the Lord on a daily basis. In other words, a disciple doesn’t wait until Sunday morning to enter God’s presence and worship Him.
A disciple “follows.” Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24) . Jesus is saying that a true disciple of His will endure hardship for His name’s sake and not fall away when the going gets tough.
The beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount are in essence a description of a disciple.
We see in the fifth chapter of Matthew that even though there were many people around, it was the disciples that exerted themselves to climb the mountain with Him and the sermon is addressed to them (Matthew 5:1,2).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” (verse 3).
The word "poor" in the Greek literally means beggar or to beg. Jesus is describing people that are spiritually hungry, or needy. When Jesus was being followed by a large crowd of people, He told them that they were following Him not because they saw the miracles, but because they had eaten the physical bread He had provided (John 6:5-13) and were more concerned for their physical needs (John 6:26,27). When He told them to ingest Him, (John 6:53) most of them left – except His true disciples who valued His word, the Truth, more than anything else. His disciples were spiritually hungry and were fed and satisfied by the things of God.
Blessed are they that mourn – There is a grieving for sin, personally and for the sin and suffering in the world; and these ones hunger and thirst for righteousness in themselves and in others – (Matthew 5:4,6).
Jesus’ disciples are blessed because of their willingness to abide in the vine (John 15:5) and are allowing the Lord to produce His holy character in them. Therefore they have the strength of His character in them to be meek and are blessed (Matthew 5:5). They can turn the other cheek when they are reviled by unbelievers (Matthew 5:39).
A disciple is a reflection of their Lord, so they are merciful, as their Lord is merciful, they are pure in heart, for they are allowing the Holy Spirit of Christ in them to remove attitudes and inner sins, for they are willing to judge themselves – (Mathew 5:7).
They are peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) – first by sharing the peace of Christ through the Gospel, making peace between God and man, and secondly by sowing peace where there is discord.
They are blessed because they are followers of Jesus and willing to be persecuted for His sake (Matthew 5: 10-12) for they are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) and the Light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
For some extra shadings see also these related articles -
That's Not You - Mathew 13 | The Beatitudes Interpreted | The Spiritually Needy
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