“Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.”
“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.”
“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
There He was and there they were. These are three situations where Peter, James, and John had probably no idea (at the time) what Jesus was doing by pulling them aside specifically, but Jesus knew exactly what He was doing… creating a model of discipleship!
These events are thought to be in chronological order where Jesus first reveals His ultimate power over death (with Peter, James, and John in His midst) by acting on His authority to bring the little girl back to life. Then we see Jesus reveal His true identity to these three when He specifically asked them to join Him in prayer on the top of the mountain. Finally, we see the all-famous passage where Jesus asks Peter, James, and John specifically to pray for Him whilst, in agony and desperation, He prepares for His final mission. Now I don’t know about you, but I found it a little bit odd that Jesus reveals Himself, in this circle of discipleship, AFTER He had shown them how truly powerful He was through this incredible act. (I mean they had already seen Him perform many incredible miracles, but resurrecting someone from the dead was only something they had heard of Eliijah and Elisha doing, so this was a crucial revelation to them.) As I sat with the Lord about this interesting chain of events, I felt impressed with this phrase, “People will not care to see who you are until they are captivated by what you do.”
Discipleship is not just a program or just another “churchy” thing to cross off a to-do list; it’s a relationship that truly costs something. Jesus shows us this by revealing the three things He specifically singled out to reveal to this group by way of discipleship: Action, Revelation, and Trust. He grabbed their attention by singling them and showing them (through action) how truly powerful He was and how much He truly cared for others. He asked then revealed to them who He truly was, and began to reveal why He came. Finally He trusted them, even when He knew they were weak, to support Him in the most crucial moment of His life.
When I am given the opportunity to disciple someone, I keep these three things in mind. First, show them that you care through your actions and captivate their attention by allowing Jesus to move through you in a powerful way. This then leads into praying that the Lord would reveal Himself to them and in the process, guide them every step of the way by listening to the Holy Spirit’s direction. Then comes the scary part: TRUST them to do something that you know they are weak in. You won’t see growth unless you allow them to find themselves in situations that they might fail. These three men in the Bible failed big time, but later on, we see that Jesus completely restores their fault by extending immeasurable grace. He then charges them to learn from their mistakes, launching them into their future (John 21).
It’s the investment of a true relationship that provides a solid foundation for great discipleship. When someone can see that you truly care about him or her, then they will listen to the hope that you carry! That being said, you must examine your heart to make sure you are a true disciple yourself before you begin to disciple others. Just something to chew on before I close: discipleship is about revealing the One and Only Savior of the world to someone. We aren’t trying to become their savior ourselves.
Jesus, guide us as we commit to the call in which you gave us, in order to “Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS!”
Featured image by Alexa Mihalick