The Hardest Part of Being a Disciple


The Hardest Part of Being a Disciple


I have often thought of how great it must have been to be a disciple of Jesus. I could see him everyday. I would love to have the opportunity to visit with him. To sit in the same room, or area, and just listen to him talk and share his wisdom and understanding. That would have been incredible.

I have often thought if I could have been one of the disciples of Jesus, I wouldn’t have all the problems that I have now. All I would have to do is take each problem to him and he would solve it. Life would have been glorious.

Then I realize I am a disciple of Jesus. As a disciple I can enjoy those privileges. I can take my problems to him. I have the opportunity to fellowship with him. To listen to him talk and share his wisdom. I can take all my problems and my cares to Jesus. Bringing them all to him with the knowledge, he cares.

Yet, the role of discipleship is not without its difficulties. There are no drawbacks, but there are areas that require adjustment in our lives. Our priorities will change. Sometimes even our vocations might change. Like the vocations of some of the disciples of Jesus changed. Furthermore there is a position of discipleship that can be difficult for even the most ardent of disciples.

To be a disciple simply means to be a learner. It means to follow the teachings of the teacher. When a person becomes a disciple they begin to adhere or hold fast to the teachings of the teacher. A disciple is more than just a student. The disciple actually conforms to the teaching. He in reality becomes an imitator of the teacher. In this case we are talking about being an imitator of Jesus.

In the writings of Luke we find requirements, listed by Jesus, for a disciple. Jesus speaks of a disciple hating his mother, father, sister, brother and his own life. He talks of counting the cost before you start otherwise you might not be able to finish the task. Jesus also said in order to be his disciple we had to forsake all that we have.

In the Book of John, chapter one, we are introduced to a man that was one of the first disciples of Jesus. In studying this man we find a picture of true discipleship. John the Baptist stood with two of his disciples and saw Jesus walk by. He said, “Behold the lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak and they followed Jesus. One of the two disciples was Andrew who was identified as Simon Peter’s brother.

In the life of Andrew we find a picture of the most difficult part of being a disciple of Jesus. Most of us know very little about Andrew. There are only four references of him personally to show us anything of his character. Yet in those few words he shows us how to be a true disciple.

Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist. He was among the first to follow Jesus. Tradition says that he was the first. That might be because John doesn’t name the other disciple of John the Baptist who was with Andrew. So when we look at the twelve who became Apostles, Andrew is the one with the most seniority.

Andrew does not have a real reputation of his own. Even the first time he is introduced to us, by John, he is introduced as the brother of Simon Peter. The ironic thing is we haven’t met Simon Peter yet.

He was part of the first men’s quartet, Peter, James, John and Andrew. They were all friends. They all grew up in the same town and worked in the same vocation as fishermen. However, we find that even the children’s Sunday school song fails to mention anything about Andrew. The song just speaks of “Peter, James and John…” being in the sailboat out on the deep blue sea.

Even with his seniority Andrew is not a part of the “inner circle” with Jesus. It was Peter, James and John who were with Jesus on the Mountain. The three of them were the ones who went with Jesus into the room of Jarius’s daughter. They were the trio that went a little further with Jesus in the Garden.

When the disciples were ordained and called Apostles, the writer Mark said that Jesus changed their names giving them a new identity. Simon became known as Peter that means rock. James and John were identified as the Son’s of Thunder. Yet Andrew’s name remains the same. He kept the same identity as before.

Andrew, however, from his first introduction to us shows us what is important. Even with as limited knowledge of Andrew as we have we are witnesses of what he considered to be of great magnitude. It is obvious from the start; there is a hunger in the heart of Andrew to know the Messiah. There is an intense desire to know Jesus.

He was a disciple of John and John’s whole ministry was pointing to Jesus. As soon as John said to him, “Behold the Lamb of God,” Andrew followed Jesus. However he did more than walk behind him. He had questions that would allow him to know Jesus. He asked questions like, “Where do you dwell?”

He was saying, “I want to know you. I want to know where you are living. I want to know where you are coming from. I want more than just a passing knowledge; I really want to know you.” He spent time with Jesus and came to recognize the Jesus was the answer to all he had been seeking.

We find that Andrew is the first soul winner. After he first met Jesus he went to his brother Simon Peter and John tells us that Andrew said to him, “We have found the Messias, the Christ.” We have come to know the one we have been looking for.

When Greeks, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, heard about Jesus they encountered Philip in their search. They asked him for help saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” What did Philip do? Philip went and found Andrew and informed him about the men. Then Philip and Andrew went and found Jesus and told him.

In John chapter 6 Jesus looked at the multitude that followed him and realized they were hungry. He turned to Philip and asked him where they could buy bread so the people could eat? Philip’s reply shows the bewilderment I would have felt in his place, “There is no way we can come up with enough money today to feed this many!”

At this moment Andrew, the disciple who was learning Jesus, steps forward to introduce an opportunity for a miracle. We might not have the money, but here is a young boy who is willing to share his lunch of five loaves and two fishes. It isn’t much among so many nevertheless here you are.

Andrew was willing to fit the part that Jesus had for him in the kingdom of God. He wasn’t colorful or articulate as Peter was. He wasn’t as fervent or intense in his personality as James or John. He didn’t become part of the inner circle that was seemingly so close to the Master. He never was identified as “the one Jesus loved.”

Yet when we look at Andrew we see that Andrew recognized Jesus as his Rabbi or his teacher. He called Jesus his Messiah or Savior. Andrew, without being angry or jealous, was faithful. He was the steady one. Andrew was the soul winner. Andrew wanted to know Jesus and to point others to him as well.

The hardest part of being a disciple is coming to know Jesus. Realizing that it is not the recognition that is received or the credit that is given that is important. What is important is recognizing who your Master or Savior is. The hardest part of being a disciple is coming to the knowledge that each disciple has a part in the kingdom of God and then striving to become that part to your fullest capability.

The hardest part of being a disciple is to become and imitator of Jesus Christ and in doing so, pointing others to him. Thank you, Andrew, for being a true disciple.

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