Discipleship: a Christian imperative
Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples included the charge "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptise and teach!" This charge should motivate each and every follower of Jesus and should do so to the end of the age, until his return, says Mones Farah
When I consider this sentence recorded at the end of the Gospel of St Matthew, I am reminded not only of my priestly and ordained ministry but rather, first and foremost, to be and grow as a disciple and, in turn, to equip others to become and grow as disciples.
However, after years of Christendom, I believe we have allowed the ball to drop and have lost sight of what a disciple is. Unless we can define or describe what a disciple is, we stand no chance of becoming one, nor assisting those who surround us to become disciples.
Let’s go back to basics. A disciple starts his journey by getting connected to Jesus and being baptised in his name; a disciple then needs to attach himself to the master, and to remain connected to him in order to grow and develop into the full calling on her or his life.
Those of us who have been on the journey of discipleship know and recognise that it is nothing short of becoming authentically human, as humanity was originally designed by God, to live a life of intimacy and closeness with the maker of heaven and earth. Furthermore, all disciples are aware that this life of discipleship is one of growth, maturity and transformation that must be displayed in the way we live our lives daily among our family members and friends, in the workplace, in church and in wider society.
It’s a continual and lengthy process, walking in the companionship of other disciples, relying on the word of God, the Holy Spirit and worship, growing in knowledge and understanding, maturing in character and holiness, serving and giving in generosity and joy.
As you know, our Bishop has designated 2021-2023 as three successive years of prayer, discipleship and pilgrimage, all three are intertwined, but also distinct, leading in and out of each other. 2022 is the year of discipleship: can I ask you directly, as I always ask myself, what specific things you need to do in your life so that the word disciple will also apply to you.