During those days He went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12
Jesus collected people from among the crowds who came to see, hear, and experience what the itinerant Teacher from Nazareth offered. Jesus openly walked and talked to thousands upon thousands of curious admirers. Casual observers of Jesus missed much of the intentional disciple-making process He modeled. Some demonstrated the potential for more and were invited to Come & See what life with Him was all about. Most chose to go their separate ways. However, hundreds, maybe thousands, accepted His initial invitation.
The “Come and Seers” were given multiple opportunities to watch and engage with the Master Discipler. During this first stage of exposure to Jesus, nothing was required of those invited. Jesus did everything, demonstrating a timeless disciple-making lifestyle. Sadly, like it was in the time of the Master Discipler, few people take the next step. Jesus used the first phase (about three months) of training to identify potential candidates for something more, a secondary invitation. “Follow Me.”
For about nine months, a select group of potential disciplers followed Jesus. They began doing simple ministry tasks under His direct supervision. While getting a taste of what Jesus’ ministry was like, those following Him from person to person, place to place, were undergoing a further evaluation and selection process. It is impossible to leap from casual observance (Come and See) to the reproductive life of a discipler. It takes time and discipline to develop skills and learn to use God-given gifts. Some progress faster than others. But short-circuiting Jesus’ stair-stepping model yields minimal lasting fruit.
The selection (Luke 6:12-19, Mark 3:13-14) of Jesus’ inner-circle disciples occurred about one year into His public ministry. Going up a mountain to pray all night, the Father revealed to Yeshua which of His “Follow Me” disciples would participate in the third stage of discipleship training. Returning from the mountain, Jesus saw a large crowd. They all had come to Him. Some were followers. From among the followers, Jesus asked a small group, “Be with Me.” Immediately, with the selection of the twelve, Jesus’ intensive hands-on personal training began. The “Be With Me” stage of training lasted about twenty months until the last night of Jesus’ life.
Imagine yourself as one of the twelve on selection morning. Someone in the crowd hears your name being called. “He wants you (insert name)!” Maybe you strut to the front of the crowd like a rooster in a chicken coop. “Yeah, baby. Jesus is the Messiah we have been waiting for since the time of Moses. He wants me for an important role in the Kingdom of God!” It didn’t take long for the twelve to realize that things had changed. Suddenly, there were expectations. Jesus expected them to:
When one accepts the invitation to be with Jesus, the realization that my life is not my own, that it belongs to Him, takes some getting used to. It took twenty months of training before Jesus started his fourth and final stage of training, “abide in Me.” It took fifty-three days.
At the Last Passover, Jesus told His disciples, “you did not choose Me. I chose you (John 15:16).” It takes time for an enemy to become a friend. Salvation from sin and deliverance from death costs believers in Jesus nothing. It is simply a matter of faith that He gives us. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is another matter. It is a long road from “Come and See” to “Abide in Me.” Along the way, we have the Holy Spirit to encourage, equip, and empower us. Every day, every moment requires submission to His leading. “Right now, I choose to abide in Jesus. My life is not my own.”
Have you identified the stage of training you are currently at? Are you yielding completely to Jesus’ selection of you as His disciple?
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