The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for DISCIPLE!

[This is the MILLERWRITES contribution to the 2012 Blogging A to Z April Challenge  Here is my INTRODUCTION to this particular series, and an opportunity for you to influence which alphabetically aligned weird words I will comment on this month.  THANK YOU for stopping by!]

DISCIPLE may only be a 'weird word' to you if you try to pronounce it as it is written; dis-kippel, or disc-i-plea.  The word is used fairly often in our national discussions about the various leaders we honor with our followership.  (My spell check is balking at that last word.  Maybe that's why we have discipleship in our vocabulary.)  Anybody that a group of folks respect and would choose to emulate can call that group his disciples.  Louis Farrakhan has disciples and Leanord Nimoy has disciples and Richard Petty has disciples.  It seems everyone has disciples except me!  I do have a nice group of followers, but I guess they know enough to keep it at that.

Interestingly, Jesus Christ never told His followers (His disciples, I should say) to go out and make everyone a Christian!  That word simply means 'Christ one' and is not a very definitive, meaningful term.  (I often joke with my non churchgoing Christian friend when he tells me about something he's doing on a Sunday morning, that "Oh yeah, I'M a Christian, so I'll be in church.."  As if going to church makes one a Christian the same way going to McDonalds makes one a hamburger!  Oh, I guess it does, in the same way.)

Antioch, a city in Turkey (which my son lived in for two weeks last year!) is famous for this little bit of Bible trivia:
Acts 11:26
and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

I have always thought that was pretty cool, but I've long been into nicknames.  I took this passage to mean that the group there at Antioch had a meeting and a discussion to go over a list of possible titles some committee had recommended, and then voted and finally settled on "Christian".  It turns out that the term was given, nay, thrown, at them by outsiders as a pejorative!  As in; "Look, there go them Christ-ones to church, instead of going to McDonalds with us!

The Christians called themselves a host of more positive and heartening names including;  "brethren," "the faithful," "elect," "saints," and "believers."  Jesus may have used some of these words to refer to his devoted followers once in a while, but in the end He never said to go and make 'saints' out of anybody.  He didn't demand that much from the likes of His apostles.  He didn't call for us to be 'believers' because that is way too little.  In fact, James said that even the demons 'believe, and shudder!'. (James 2:19)  There is a title more realistic than our pridefully claiming to be perfectly 'faithful', and better than simply being 'brethren'.  Jesus wants all of us, well all of us who have ever lived in a nation, to be His DISCIPLES!  In His last words before He was ascended back into heaven...

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  (Mathew 28)

He wants people everywhere to study His ways, to adopt His kind of love for God and man, to sacrifice all for the sake of others; in short, to enjoy a life spanning relationship with Him and the satisfaction of practicing His DISCIPLINES.


  1. So if we are Wisconsin Christians, does that make us CHEESEburgers?
    Sorry, had to ask.
    Thanks for sharing this insightful post on discipleship! You've delivered with determination and devotion!

    1. Only Wisconsin Christians who are determined and devoted Cheeseheads get to be Cheeseburgers! Bears fan Christians are more like Chicago style Pizzaburgers.

  2. I know what you mean. In fact, I don't really ever feel comfortable with calling myself Christian, because it feels like it's a name that's been too lightly applied to too many people that didn't really follow Jesus's will.

    Does that make sense or am I the only one that feels that way?

    1. I never thought about it before writing my blog today, but the term does have an unfortunate sense of 'having arrived' attached to it. Yes, our eternal destiny with our Christ is done being determined by our confession and His redemptive work (all by His grace), but we are(I am)still in the process of being 'transformed by the renewing of the mind'.

      Ultimately, I am a Christ ian, as opposed to a Mohammed ian, or a Buddha-ian etc, and not ashamed of Him!

  3. "...a life spanning relationship." That's beautiful and made me pause and think. Great post that's both interesting and well delivered.

  4. I tend to not apply any terminology to myself. I rarely attend church, but I do believe. I always enjoy your biblical posts and learn so much from them.


  5. I cant be a perfect disciple but I am a believer.
    Do check out my F at GAC a-z.


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