By Pastor Jong Duterte
“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:17–18, NRSV)
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “disciple”? Someone who attends church? Who confessed belief in Jesus? An active church member or a ministry or part of it? These may all be part of what a disciple does but being a disciple is far more than attending church or being part of a ministry.
In this passage, we learn three ingredients of discipleship that reveal not only Jesus’ invitation but also His expectation for people who would claim to follow Him. True Biblical discipleship contains not only one or two ingredients but comprises all three. We cannot consider our discipleship complete until we fulfill all three ingredients. Let’s find out what these three essential ingredients are.
Submission – “Come, follow me” – This phrase literally means “go behind me as a disciple.”1 It is an invitation to submit to Jesus and learn from Him. Believing in Jesus is more than an intellectual agreement that He is God or that He died for our sins. It is a commitment to follow Him and submit to His will and His purpose as revealed to us in the Word of God.
Transformation – “I will make you to become” – Submission to Jesus should result in a transformed life for the disciple. This transformation will be seen on how the disciple conducts every area of his life. The Bible says that, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40, ESV). The first transformation one would expect as a disciple of Jesus would be a change of priorities that would reflect the character of Jesus.
But there’s another element to this phrase. The Greek word used for “I will make you to become” is “genesthai” which literally means “to prepare for a task.”2 This means that being a disciple of Jesus does not just mean to grow into the likeness of Jesus in our words and actions: it also implies being prepared to share in the task of discipling others.
Multiplication – “fishers of people” – Discipleship is not complete until one reaches out and becomes a “fisher of people”. Would you consider Jesus’ training of His disciples complete or successful if the disciples did not reproduce themselves and make other disciples? Jesus entrusted the future of His ministry to a few disciples whom He expected to likewise disciple others. In the same way, a true biblical disciple will need to lead others to spiritual maturity, becoming spiritual parents to new believers and giving way to a new generation of disciples.
A disciple, therefore, is a committed follower of Jesus Christ whose life is continually being transformed in conformity to His character and is commissioned to disciple others to spiritual maturity.
As we grow in our relationship with God, it is my prayer and hope that we all strive to measure up to Jesus’ standard for discipleship as we follow Him, be transformed by Him and multiply ourselves as we lead others to spiritual maturity.
Lord Jesus, we ask that You help us hasten our steps to follow You, and like the disciples, do so “at once” out of our obedience and love for You. Guide us to fulfill each ingredient of Your command. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen
When we follow Jesus’ way, He will be with us all the way
- John D. Grassmick, “Mark,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 108.
- Ibid. 108