Intro: Following in the footsteps of my father through the snow as a child.
Disciple: a simple defintion
A professed follower of Christ; a pupil or an adherent of another; follower.
The game of “Follow the Leader” is a blatant game of imitation. Following Jesus is different …
– Following Jesus is not just imitating; it is becoming.
– Following Jesus is not just doing because he did, but developing a heart like his. (from the inside out)
– It is not just developing a heart like his on one’s own, by one’s own strength and determination; it is being recreated, it is by the power of his Holy Spirit at work within us.
Jesus’ call to discipleship differed from other Rabbi’s of the day
-The call to the disciples to follow was unique to the concept of teachers and disciples. Disciples sought out and applied to study with a Rabbi; Jesus called his disciples.
-The disciples would sit at the feet of the Rabbi and listen to their teaching; Jesus called his disciples to follow, to be with, he did not just teach but modeled what he taught.
-Rabbis graduated their disciples; Jesus did not:
Once a follower; always a follower
Following Jesus did not end for the disciples. Most of the times Jesus says, "Follow me" it is as he is calling the first disciples. But Jesus continues to call Peter, saying, "Follow me" even after his death and resurrection and as he prepares to physically leave this earth. John 21.15-23, esp. 19, 22 (Jesus reinstates Peter.)
Not everyone who begins as a disciple, finishes as a disciple
60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
This statement points to their own hearts. The soil of their hearts is hard and the seed of Jesus’ word cannot take root and produce fruit. They are not trainable. They do not have the ability to listen and receive God’s word. They stand self-condemned. God calls, but we must follow; it is a two-part street. To hear and to obey, same in Hebrew.
61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
Do we find any of Jesus’ teaching offensive?
Someone once said that the job of the preacher is "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." To afflict the comfortable is to challenge one to move out of their comfort zone.
What in God’s Word causes us to falter? What challenges us?
66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
This a form of betrayal.
67“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
God knows the condition of our hearts and sends circumstances that will reveal our hearts to us. Will we listen? Or will we turn away?
68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Peter speaks on behalf of the others and accepts Jesus’ claims, but he does not say they understand them. Will we follow even when we do not understand? One of the marks of a disciple is to commit to follow, even when we do not know where the journey will lead us. This is like Abram who obeyed God’s call even though "he did not know where he was going."
How do we hear?
1. The Bible
Spend time in the Word. To know the Word is to know God. Jesus is the Word: John 1.14: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Jesus will never speak contrary to his written Word.
Prayer is more than our speaking to God; it is God speaking to us – most the time not audibly, but he will impress things upon our heart, he will cause us to understand his Word in a deeper way.
God will reveal himself to us as we are about his work, serving him.