What does it mean to be a disciple?
The word we translate as “disciple” literally means “student,” but there are many kinds of students. Most of us were once academic students, sitting at a desk while listening to a teacher, reading, writing, or doing exercises on paper. Perhaps you have been a piano student, practicing scales and repertoire in addition to learning theory. Some of you have probably been students of a trade, which involved spending years doing the work alongside an experienced practitioner.
To be a disciple, or student, of Jesus means to combine all of those kinds of learning. As Jesus’s disciples, we study his words and listen to his teachings; we also believe that he is the Son of God and so we respect his authority in whatever form we receive it. But being a student of Jesus does not just mean listening to him or believing in him- it also means doing, or practicing. We not only believe certain things about Jesus or come to know a lot about Jesus’s teachings, but we also change our priorities and our lives so that we can live like he did- serving others, living humble lives, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.
As Pastor Kip mentioned in his e-Letter on Wednesday, I will be preaching in Traditions this Sunday while Pastor Greg preaches in The Bridge. Although Pastor Greg and I will be using different scripture passages, we will both be talking about the leap that it takes to move from being a student who believes and listens…to one who also practices. Practicing our faith takes discipline, to be sure, but it also requires a change in perspective. In order to live like Jesus, we must begin to see the world as Jesus did.
Join us this week, in Traditions or The Bridge, for a very practical exploration of what it means to be a student of Jesus.