What do we mean by ‘discipleship?’

 

Simply put, it is making disciples as Jesus meant it.

The Greek word for Syn-agogue (???+?????) could be translated as “a place of learning or training together.”

Synagogue during Jesus’ time was a communal place of learning the scripture as well as a place where disciples were trained by a rabbi. Jesus’s ministry as a teacher in the Jewish rabbinic tradition of his time centered on being a living example of ‘fulfilling the scripture” by applying the words of the scripture to his daily life. Jesus’s “disciples,” (“Talmidim” in Hebrew) were the ones who followed their rabbi everywhere, wanting to become more and more like their rabbi, in his teaching as well as lifestyle, action, habit, and thoughts. They were learning and absorbing the person of Jesus. Therefore, we understand ‘discipleship’ to mean exactly that–living out our faith commitment in Jesus’ teaching, life, death, and resurrection.

 

This includes studies of the scripture as well as outreach activities we do as a church community, worship services, and other gatherings. “Go make disciples of all nations” is not just a call to evangelism to the unchurched, but also a call to an intense and intentional disciple-making within a Christ’s ‘church’–a new Christian name for a synagogue of Jesus and his twelve disciples. First we seek to be disciples, learning from our teachers so that one day we may also become a ‘rabbi’ (by intellectual as well as spiritual qualification) who makes disciples, calling them to follow in our steps. Apostle Paul’s remark in Philippians 4:8-9 says it well:

 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)