What does it mean to be a disciple? The term is derived from a Greek word, mathetes, which means a pupil or apprentice. The implication was that a disciple would sit at the feet of the master teacher or craftsman, learn from them, and then go and spread the same message.
As Christians, we most often associate this word with those twelve followers who walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. In Acts, we see the culmination of their training as we read Luke’s account of the actions of Peter, John and some of the other disciples.
But they weren’t always the confident bringers of God’s Word that we read about in Acts. We read about hot-headed, speak-before-you-think Peter in the Gospels. We read about men fighting for position as the honored ones to sit at the left and right of Jesus in heaven. We see story after story of flawed men.
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40
Becoming a disciple is a lifelong journey of learning. It’s a process by which you become more and more like the Teacher—Jesus—every day. It happens as you spend time in regular prayer. It happens as you personalize Scripture during your quiet time. You become more like Jesus as you practice outrageous generosity and compassionately serve others. You grow closer to Jesus as you nurture relationships with other Christians and engage in shared study with them. You are molded into a disciple as you joyfully worship with God’s people.
Not feeling like a disciple yet? Don’t worry. Just as Jesus encouraged and empowered Peter and the other disciples for ministry before they were fully qualified, He is using you to reach others. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t need to know all the answers. You don’t need to memorize the entire Bible.
You just need to be ready to be used. Keep learning and studying. Invite Jesus to teach you and use you. For you are His disciple.