A Discipler's Heart
Besides reconciling a fallen mankind with the Father through His blood, Jesus lay the foundation for the continued propagation of the good news beyond His life on earth. Soon after receiving His commission into ministry, without delay, Jesus chose 12 disciples who were ordinary people who earned their living through modest skills.
Few hours before Jesus was betrayed and handed over to the Roman soldiers, He prayed to the Father. From His words, it’s quite evident that Jesus foreknew His time had come to drink from the cup of suffering and proceed to wind up His mission on earth.
A study of John 18 gives us a sense of the intensity of those moments when Jesus prayed for His disciples. While meditating on those words of prayer during the final hours, there is a wealth of revelation one can receive about Jesus as a discipler.
1. Mission focused - Jesus was faithful in training and equipping people entrusted to Him (John 17:6). Through the 3 years of ministry, He taught and demonstrated every word which proceeded from His Father. He raised a unique breed of leaders who impacted nations with the gospel and remained faithful to the point of martyrdom. Every disciple (of course, excluding Judas) was obedient unto the point of death just as Jesus was.
2. Advocacy - “Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” John 17:7-8. Jesus was a “true advocate” for His disciples before God. He stood witness before His Father for every disciple.
3. Father's will first - He confesses all the authority of God upon His disciples (John 17 :9-10) when he says “And all Mine are Yours”. Jesus prioritized the kingdom vision (salvation for the entire mankind) and released every disciple unto His Father’s plan and purpose.
4. Ownership - John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one". Throughout the course of discipleship, Jesus kept His disciples from the evil one and his influences. He continuously prayed for divine covering over their lives and missions.
5. Accountability - Now, this is something which deeply touched me. (John 17:18) Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men (disciples) go.” These words of Jesus set the bar really high on taking responsibility and accountability on the safety and protection of the disciples. While the armed detachment of soldiers surrounded Jesus and His disciples, He stepped forward and offered Himself to be arrested asking them to set his disciples free.
I believe many reading this article are called to disciple others. When Jesus calls you, He is willing to hold your hands and guide you through His Word. All you need is to understand His heart and the heart for His disciples. Jesus’s discipleship ministry produced some of the best, most powerful and anointed servants who never wavered from their commission and finished their assignments successfully before they headed home. May yours produce the same!
About the author: Reji Mathews, along with his wife Frenchi, serves God as lead worshipper at Church Underground, Toronto. He is a software engineer by profession but his heart yearns to see a global revival and a great awakening in christian churches. He plays a pivotal role in challenging and impacting churches to seek God’s heart in everything and most importantly, stay strongly founded on the apostolic doctrines established by the early first century church leaders. On the side, he loves writing biblical blogs to encourage body of Christ.