“The other day I was reading near the end of John’s gospel,” Stan commented one morning, “and I saw how Jesus said something to the apostle Peter about how to be a disciple.”
“Telling an apostle how to be a disciple?” I questioned. “You mean the three steps of denying self, taking up whatever, and following?”
“Exactly,” Stan replied.
“What’d Jesus say to Peter?” I asked.
“Let’s do a quick summary of what was going on,” Stan replied. “After Jesus had died on the cross, was buried, and then resurrected, He was at the Sea of Galilee. He was talking to Peter, telling him what he was supposed to do in caring for the church after Jesus was going to be gone.”
“Is that where Jesus asked Peter three different times about whether Peter loved Him?” I asked.
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Jesus told Peter about tending and shepherding the lambs and sheep of the church. When Jesus was done with that part, He told Peter how he was going to die by being taken to somewhere he didn’t want to go.”
“What does telling Peter how he was going to die have anything to do with discipleship?” I asked.
“It’s what Peter said next to Jesus,” Stan replied. “When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and looked around, he saw another apostle, the apostle John, and Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him?’”
“Oh,” I said, “Peter wanted to compare what was going to happen to him with what Jesus had for someone else, in this case the apostle John. Is that it?”
“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “And the way Jesus responded to Peter makes me know that I’m not to look at what God has for me to be and to do in comparison to what He has for anyone else.”
“What’d Jesus say to Peter?” I asked.
“First, Jesus asked him a very pointed question,” Stan responded. “Jesus said, ‘What’s that to you?’”
“Oh,” I replied. “Like telling Peter that was none of his business. Then what?”
“Jesus gave Peter the discipleship command,”
“The discipleship command?” I replied. “How so?”
“Jesus said to Peter, ‘You follow Me’.”
“Oh,” I said, “Jesus had already told Peter the first two steps of being a disciple, and then He emphasized the third step.”
“That’s right,” Stan said. “It’s like Jesus told Peter the three steps of discipleship, but in a slightly different order that usual. He had told Peter what he was to take up in caring for Jesus’ lambs and sheep, then Jesus told Peter to deny himself by not comparing himself to others. That was followed by the command to follow Him.”
“You know,” I replied, “it seems that Jesus focused on discipleship just about everywhere He went, telling everyone how to be a disciple.”
“It does seem that way, doesn’t it?” Stan said, “Here Jesus was teaching someone, an apostle who should have already known, how to be a disciple!”
Bible verses to consider:
Peter therefore seeing him (John) said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” John 21:21-22.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of the cross of Christ so I can know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for the provision of discipleship on this side of eternity so I can have an ever-deepening relationship with you, being and doing what you have for me. I confess that too often I don’t deny myself, I don’t take up what you have for me to take up, and I don’t follow as you intend. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life without being a disciple. Help me to follow every step of your lead however, wherever, and whenever you want, knowing that the “whenever” is always. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him so you can be a disciple on this side of eternity? If no, why? What’s in the way? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being a disciple? If you sense the need for change in denying self, in taking up what you are to take up, and/or in following, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?
One thought on “February 13, 2023 — Jesus Teaches an Apostle how to be a Disciple”
This message for Feb 13 resonated with me (like so many of your writings do, I just don’t comment on every one)!
I pondered when reading this message, how much more could be done if our/my focus was on Jesus, and not in comparison with others…ever! This “comparison-to-others” business is subtle (internalized more than vocalized) and something that I believe is a tool used by our enemy to separate and diminish effectiveness of The Church. God, help me to practice Psalms 27:14 “Rely on the Lord! Be strong and confident. Rely on the Lord!”