“The other day,” Stan commented, “we focused on one word that Jesus used when talking about being a disciple. Do you remember that?”
“I do,” I replied. “It’s the word, ‘if,’ that Jesus said about discipleship being a matter of choice. It’s like ordering breakfast. If I’m hungry and if I want something to eat, I’m going to have to make a choice. [Note to reader: see the posting for March 6, 2023, “Discipleship: Jesus said, “if;” Does that mean a Choice?”]
“That’s right,” Stan said. “This morning let’s focus on another single word that Jesus used in the same sentence.”
“Another single word?” I questioned. “Which one?”
“Anyone,” Stan replied. “When Jesus was talking about being a disciple, after He said, “If,’ He said “anyone.”
“Oh,” I replied. “So Jesus said the two single words together: ‘If anyone’. So what?”
A neighbor and I were talking about that the other day about how ‘anyone’ includes ‘everyone’.”
“Anyone includes everyone? In what way?”
“Let me tell you what was going on,” Stan replied. “My neighbor was talking about discipleship and wondering whether all Christians are supposed to be disciples.”
“Are supposed to be disciples?” I said. “As contrasted to what?”
“That discipleship might be just for some Christians, but not for all,” Stan responded.
“Maybe,” I commented, “your neighbor was wondering about the difference between disciples and apostles.”
“We talked about that,” Stan said. “About how Jesus selected the twelve apostles from the disciples, and how not everyone is an apostle, but that it seems like everyone is intended to be a disciple, if that’s what they choose.”
“Not just come to faith and then go no further,” I said.
“You know,” I continued, “as we talk about this, it makes me think that’s what the train station master told me a long time ago when he told me to leave the station platform, not just sit there waiting for the train. To go and work out my salvation. He was talking about discipleship and being a disciple!” [Note to readers, see the very first posting to this blog, dealing with the assurance of salvation and what it means for our time here. It’s also Day One of S. Tory Teller’s book, Waiting for the Train].
“You’re right,” Stan replied. “Discipleship is for everyone, not just a select few. It seems to me that Jesus used the word ’anyone’ because it includes ‘everyone’ who’s willing to make the choice to deny self, take up what’s to be taken up, and to follow.”
“And that,” I added, “includes ‘wherever,’ along with ‘however’ and ‘whenever,’ which is always!”
“It sounds like you’ve been listening, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile. “Thanks!”
Bible verses to consider:
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.” Luke 9:23.
If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you gave your only begotten Son so that all who believe can know they will spend eternity in your presence. Thank you, too, for the provision of discipleship on this side of eternity that is available to all who choose to be disciples. I confess that too often I do not include myself in the “anyone” category by not denying myself, by not taking up what you have for me to take up, and by not following. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life as a Christian without being a disciple. Please help me follow every step of your lead into the deepest possible discipleship. 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 provision for you to spend eternity in His presence? If no, why have you not accepted His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in being a disciple? Do you believe that discipleship is available to anyone who chooses to be a disciple? If you sense the need for change in what you are choosing to be and to do, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?