A New Name for Disciples of Christ
In my early years as a Christian, the word “disciple” primarily meant a doer.
If I wanted to be a disciple of Jesus then I needed to get to work for Him. If someone else claimed to be His disciple I tended to measure their performance against my own.
Those who lived as exhausted as I was living measured up. We were disciples indeed!
There’s no question that the Greek word translated disciple means one who follows or learns from a master. There’s also no question that Jesus clearly teaches that the cost of discipleship is everything in Luke 14:25-35. I’m persuaded that salvation is free (John 3:16; 6:24; Ephesians 2:8-9) but discipleship is costly.
However, years of walking with Jesus and meditating on the Upper Room have convinced me that there’s an even better, more accurate definition of the word “disciple.”
Something happened in the heart of the Apostle John that night that caused him to claim this new name — “the one Jesus loved.”
Sixty years later, when he penned his gospel, we realize that these words had become his new identity. He could have easily referred to himself as the Bishop of Ephesus, one of the three who witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, or even the lone exhausted-but-out-performing-the-others disciple standing next to Jesus’ mother at the foot of the cross.
No, he was simply and profoundly, “the one Jesus loves.”
Until we simply and profoundly view ourselves as the one Jesus loves the doing turns ugly, competitive, wounding, and …exhausting.
Those who live out of that identity — the one Jesus loves — are the ones who will fulfill His greatest desire for His disciples: “Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble” (1 John 2:10).
Before we can become doing disciples we must become beloved disciples who love.