Put 10 people in a room and ask them what the purpose of the church is, and they will almost assuredly quickly agree it is to make disciples. Ask the same 10 people to define what a disciple looks like, and most assuredly you will have a lengthy discussion with a painstaking attempt at finding agreement!
Interesting enough, even in my own thinking, it can be difficult to narrow down an idea. I can think of multiple passages in the New Testament where Jesus identifies characteristics of a disciple, as with Luke 9:23-24, or in the Old Testament with examples like Moses, who in Deuteronomy 30:15-20 posed to the people of Israel to “choose life.”
A definition can be difficult to narrow down, but in Matthew 4:19, Jesus extends an invitation in which I find three clear characteristics. Jesus says, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” What would Jesus expect to see in a disciple:
- One: Knows and obeys Christ (Come, follow me)
- Two: Reflects a Christ honoring life of transformation (I will make you)
- Three: Is committed to the mission of Christ (Fishers of men)
There are a lot of definitions out there, but I find a clarity in this passage that is both refreshing and worthy of self-scrutiny.