You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Jesus Christ (Luke 6:12-16)
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Christ, being fully divine has unlimited knowledge, wisdom and power. However, He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. (v.12). Identifying the disciples to carry out the divine task of making disciples for His kingdom as well as becoming the sons and daughters of His heavenly Father required direct and constant communication with the Father all night. Now especially when He was selecting men who will carry out the gospel mandate, as His own representatives and ambassadors, He spent ‘all night’ and ‘continued in prayer to God’. The men to be chosen for the task were men upon whom the Lord put the future of Christianity. Therefore a nightlong vigil was much needful not for Him, but for the disciples to understand that this was a great task ahead. The disciples needed the expected grace to perform the messengers and spokesmen of Christ.
If you are going to fulfill the mandates of the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20, then you must be a prayerful man as your Master did. You have to be prayerful, being yourself finite and limited in knowledge, wisdom and power. Yes – pray for wisdom in leading and discipling these men and women that you bring to the knowledge of Christ. They are being called to die to the world and to the flesh. They are being to called to put on a new person after the image of Christ. They are being called to a life of submission and service to Christ to willingly take up the task with uttermost diligence. If Jesus Christ spent the whole night in prayer, how much more should we spend? MUCH MORE!
v Carefully selected
Christ very carefully called His disciples (all the followers) and from them He carefully chose the twelve and designated them Apostles (v.13). Identifying the disciples was something that the Lord did with uttermost carefulness. But much more carefulness was necessary to appoint the twelve apostles. Therefore when we are choosing those who you will disciple, uttermost diligence is required. Christ commanded those where to follow Him that they will be involved in disciple-making venture – no longer fishermen, but menfishers! Such are those who have been found by the saving mercy and grace of Christ. Disciple-making disciples are those who have benefited from the grace of God. Only Christians are called and have been commanded by the grace of Christ to follow Him – those who are saved. Because we have also been commanded to make disciples by the same Lord, then it is obvious that the Lord will bring those to be discipled!
Those who Christ summons are those who Himself wants (Mark 3:13) this shows His sovereignty in salvation and sanctification. It is only by the will of God that anyone becomes a disciple of Jesus and that anyone receives discipleship training in Christ. As Paul instructed Timothy to entrust spiritual truth to faithful men, whom should reproduce to make others who would reproduce others for the furtherance of the church. Unfaithful men are all over the place – but have nothing to do with them in entrusting them the pearls of the kingdom to the swines.
v Purposeful association
Before choosing them, mark records that “Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea…” and later He took them up the mountain “and called to Him those whom he desired, and they came to Him.” (Mark 3:7, 13) After choosing them, He came down with them and stood on the level place (Luke 6:17). When He calmed the storm in Luke 8:22, He had gotten into a boat with His disciples. It was only to the disciples that it was given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but others only in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. (Luke 8:10)
It may sound harsh, but there is no way a disciple maker can achieve purposeful association without a high level exclusivity. This intentionality was so conspicuous in the discipleship method of Christ that even from among the twelve, there was the special three – Simon Peter, James and John. These He took to the mount of transfigurations (Luke 9:28) and to Gethsemane (Matt. 26:37) of these Peter was the leader from this verse as He alone is mentioned by name and later on it is Peter who was specifically told to tend His sheep (John 21:16,17) so that Jesus most of the house resided in his house and even called it His home! (Mk. 2:29-35). I appreciate that sometimes it may have been He called Peter representing every other apostle, but we still have to acknowledge that Peter is always named the first and so I am only acknowledging this priority.
v Powerful proclamation
Jesus wanted to make disciples who can also make other disciples by His authority. When He chose the twelve, Mark recorded that it was so that they might be with Him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. (Mark 3:14,15).
Later He sent them out to preach – the seventy two (Luke 10:1-20). And he also sent out the twelve (Matt. 10:1-11:1). Note that He instructed them on the future mission and gave them specific and achievable instructions:
¾ “Don’t go to the Samaritans & Gentiles – only to the lost sheep of Israel” (5-6)
¾ The message is: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (7)
¾ What to be done is – to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast our demons” (8)
¾ Warning – do not sell the message (9-10)
¾ Do not seek to provide for yourselves – everything is taken care of, from the Master’s kitty (11-15)
¾ What to expect: persecutions! (16-23)
¾ Conclusion: a disciple is not above his master (24)
Disciples must be trained not to sit on the throne of their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ and this must be taught be example from the teachers who are themselves the zenith of humility.
He didn’t go with the twelve, when He sent them out! They had to learn without Him.
What is the effect of these four principles that Jesus had in the lives of the disciples?
Notice this at Acts 4:13
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Being with Jesus leaves the disciple, completely transformed. Spend time with Christ, whether in prayer, in His word, and in His service and this will leave and an obvious and permanent ministry of you. No true believer of Christ is unschooled, for Jesus is the Prophet who teaches His disciples God’s truth. The Christian education continues all the way to eternity. But having been with Jesus calls you to speak out for Him, in this world of sin and sinners, with the aim that they also will come under His lordship. You faithfully represent Jesus Christ by constantly gathering disciples for Him through discipleship. This is what is faithfully passing on the baton.
Questions for you from 2 Timothy 2:1-2:
1) Do you have someone that you can truly call your child?
2) Where is your strength in the work of discipleship?
3) What have you heard?
4) From whom have you heard?
5) Are they faithful men?
6) How sure are you that they have only and only followed the Word and proclaimed the true gospel?
7) Who have you had as witnesses?
8) How do you yourself watch against being in error?
9) How do you identify those to disciple?
10) What mechanism do you put in place to make sure that other faithful and godly people are trained and left to train more faithful ones?