The call to discipleship
Call to discipleship is an invitation or the desire to be enlisted as a learner and follower of Jesus Christ. A disciple is different from a convert or a church goer. The call to discipleship is a higher calling. Many rejected, ignored or refused their call to discipleship. Others were disqualified, while some rejoiced and embraced their call.
A disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other figure. It can refer to: a student of Jesus Christ. –Wikipedia
Call: To order or request to undertake a particular activity or work; summon: She was called for jury duty. He was called to the priesthood. – The free dictionary
The word ‘disciple’ literally means someone who pledges to be a learner or a follower. Therefore, call to discipleship is a request to become a student and a follower of Christ.
Call to discipleship as a student and follower of Christ
A disciple of Jesus is both a student and a follower of Jesus. He is not just a student, but a student and a follower of Jesus Christ. This is because it is possible to be a student under a teacher without being a follower of that teacher and his teachings. A student who is a creationist may learn the theory of evolution in class from his professor, just for the purpose of passing his exams. He neither believes in his teacher’s way of life nor in what he is being taught. This is not so with a disciple of Jesus. Therefore, a believer in Christ who has answered his call to discipleship is both a student and a follower of Jesus. He learns from Christ and follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Call to discipleship to forsake all
The call to discipleship is a call to forsake all, learn and follow Jesus. It is an invitation to be part of God’s agenda on earth. The priorities of a believer changes the moment he accepts the call to discipleship. Many believers are students of Jesus but not his followers. Those believers are not yet disciples of Jesus. A disciple of Jesus is necessarily a student and a follower of the teachings and way of life of Jesus Christ.
THREE CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE THAT JESUS CALLED:
Those that rejected the call: The rich young ruler (Mark 10: 17-22)
The rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked for what he may do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to go and keep the commandments.
“Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:19-22).
He confidently told Jesus that he had kept the law from his youth. Jesus looked at him and LOVED him. That is it! There was something Jesus loved about him. This man had an insatiable zeal to love God and inherit eternal life. Jesus loved him and because of this love, he invited him to a higher calling of becoming one of his disciples. One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Jesus raised the bar for him.
This man could not believe his ears. Sell what? Give to who? Take up the cross and follow you about? No, you are not talking to me! I believe his mind was telling him that this is what he should do, but he could not summon the courage. He bowed his head in sadness and went away grieved.
Those who trust in riches cannot answer the call to discipleship
The rich young ruler rejected his call to discipleship. Jesus called him to be a partaker of God’s agenda to redeem humanity. There was a vacancy for him to fill. Jesus called him because he loved him. He was blinded to see this great opportunity before him because he put his trust in his riches. The call to discipleship is an upgrade, not a downgrade. The rich young ruler thought his life would be downgraded without his riches. He missed out in God’s divine plan for his life. Till today, we do not know his name, but we know the names of Peter, James, John, Andrew and so on.
A believer who believes in Jesus, keeps the law but trust in riches cannot answer the call to discipleship. Jesus disciples were surprised at this man’s behaviour. They could see what this rich man was not seeing.
“And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24-25)
Peter said to Jesus: ‘Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee’ (Mark 10:28). Jesus assured him not to worry: “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
2. Those with wrong priorities and were not qualified: (Luke 9:57-62)
There are three people with wrong priorities in this passage (Luke 9:57-62).
i). I am an homeless man
The first person came to Jesus and told him, Lord, I will follow you to wherever you go. Jesus looked at him and painted the picture of an homeless man of himself; “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). That was the end of his excitement. He did not respond to what Jesus said. He simply went away like the rich young ruler. Jesus must have perceived the mind of this man before he painted a picture of an homeless man of himself. The man surely had different things on his mind. His expectation and priorities were wrong. So, he disqualified himself.
ii). Let the dead bury their dead
“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-60).