by Bud Houston
A topic of discussion among churches is the definition of disciple and discipleship. It’s exciting to see churches and followers of Jesus having this conversation. Yet, it often falls short and is focused on transfer of information from the discipler (church leader) to the disciple (church member). Discipleship often takes on the view of education. You come to a class or group on this day or this time and you receive information. These are great things, but it misses a large point of disciple-making. When we search the scriptures to define disciple, discipleship, and disciple-making, and we can see a robust and biblically faithful understanding. For this article, let's look at just one simple Kingdom parable from Jesus that illustrates the role and function of a disciple.
Matthew 13:52 (ESV)
And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been TRAINED for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
The word trained (μαθητεύω/mathēteuō) is the same Greek work that Jesus uses in Matthew 28:19, Make Disciples.
A disciple is Trained → Making disciples means training for the Kingdom of Heaven
Training for the Kingdom → obeying the teaching → teaching others to obey.
Jesus is challenging them to fulfill a role. They have received ‘treasure’ through his instruction and revelation from the Father; now they are to bring it out (obey) and teach others. If you look back to Matthew 13:44, we see a reference to this treasure.
Matthew 13:44 (ESV)
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The man has received the treasure joyfully. He has sold all he has to receive it. Now Jesus is telling the disciples to bring the treasure out and share it with others. That’s how valuable it is! We don’t keep it to ourselves.
How are you being trained for the Kingdom? Are you bringing out the treasure you've received and sharing it with others? Pastor or leader, how are you training your people for the Kingdom? How do you train them to reproduce what they receive?