When Jesus began his ministry, he called upon people to follow him and become his disciples. The word “disciple” means a follower or a student of a particular teacher or philosophy. In the case of Jesus, the disciples were not just students, but they were also witnesses and messengers of his teachings.
The characteristic of Jesus’ disciples can be summed up in three words: faith, obedience, and love.
Faith: Jesus’ disciples had faith in him. They believed that he was the Son of God and that he had come to save them from their sins.
Their faith was not blind; it was based on what they had seen and heard from Jesus. They saw him heal the sick, feed the hungry, and perform other miracles. They also heard him teach with authority and saw how he lived his life.
Obedience: The disciples followed Jesus’ commands without question. When he called them to leave their homes and families to follow him, they did so without hesitation.
When he told them to go out into the world and preach the gospel, they obeyed. Even when they didn’t fully understand what Jesus was asking them to do, they trusted him and followed his lead.
Love: Jesus said that his followers would be known by their love for one another (John 13:35). His disciples were no exception.
They loved Jesus first and foremost, but they also loved one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. This love extended beyond their own group; they showed love even to their enemies.
The Cost of Discipleship
Being a disciple of Jesus is not easy; it requires sacrifice. When Jesus called people to follow him, he made it clear that there would be a cost involved:
“If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Taking up one’s cross means being willing to suffer and even die for the sake of the gospel. Jesus’ disciples faced persecution, imprisonment, and even death for their faith. But they did not shrink back; they counted it all joy to suffer for Christ’s sake.
The Commission of Discipleship
Jesus’ disciples were not just called to follow him; they were also called to go out into the world and make more disciples:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
This commission is still in effect today. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to share his love and message with others. We are called to be witnesses to his power and grace.
In conclusion, the characteristic of Jesus’ disciples can be summed up in three words: faith, obedience, and love. Being a disciple is not easy; it requires sacrifice and a willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake.
But it is also a privilege and a joy to follow him. As we go out into the world as his witnesses, may we do so with faith, obedience, and love.