It was in those days, Jesus went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles. Luke 6:12-13.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.
The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:
What does it mean to be a disciple? Jesus already defined it for you and He is My Word, so listen to Him. “If you continue (menó in Greek, which means to stay, abide, remain, being equivalent to not to depart, not to leave, to continue to be present) in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32. And later He said more along this same vein, “If you abide (meno) in Me, and My words abide (meno) in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so become (gínomai in Greek, which means to come into being/manifestation implying motion, movement, or growth) My disciples.” John 15:7-8. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master.” Matthew 10:24-25.
Jesus had many disciples during His time living among you according to the flesh, but after some time, He went up on the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to Me. When day came, He summoned those of His disciples whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. Mark 3:12-15. He called them out of the many to promote them to a higher degree of relationship, naming them apostles (apostolos in Greek, which means a messenger, one sent on a mission, someone sent (commissioned), focusing back on the authority (commissioning) of the sender). Luke 6:12-13.
Disciples stay with the teacher but when they mature in the teachings and master the subject sufficiently to themselves instruct others, the master teacher can send them forth to also teach, preach, and do the works of the ministry with confidence that they will do so correctly and adequately. They can be commissioned for a mission.
After I raised Jesus from the dead, He also presented Himself alive after His suffering to the apostles whom he had chosen by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. When He was taken up to heaven, Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. He commissioned His apostles to go and make disciples. How? By teaching them to observe all that He commanded them.
Apostles make disciples. And disciples, once they have learned, can also become apostles. It is a question of how much of the Word you are willing to take in and how much you are willing to put out. It requires diligence in reading, speaking, meditating, listening, and being instructed in the Word. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14. And further, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about baptisms and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.” Hebrews 6:1-3.
A disciple is one who immerses himself or herself in My Word. And your ultimate teacher for this is Jesus by the Holy Spirit, but I work through revelation to you personally of My Word and through people. From disciples I can promote to positions of more influence in the church. I give gifts to men and women and to others by them. I give some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13.
And in the book of Acts you see My apostles making disciples from Pentecost on, led by My Spirit and filled with My Spirit, and then the new disciples rising up and becoming apostles to neighborhoods, cities, and on to the nations and making more disciples. I send people to people to tell the good news. When the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail, during the night My angel opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Acts 5:20. Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. And they made more disciples who joined them and then they went out to preach. They just could not help sharing the good news that so filled their hearts with joy with others.
You will notice when Cornelius needed instruction in the gospel, I did not send an angel to preach to him, I sent an angel to tell him to call for Peter to come and tell him the good news of Jesus. And after Peter came and preached to Cornelius and his household, they received Jesus and they received the gift of Holy Spirit. And they began speaking with tongues and exalting Jesus. Now they were being taught by the Spirit. Acts 10.
And think of how I sent Philip by transport of an angel and then by the Spirit to explain Scripture and tell the good news to the official from Ethiopia on the desert road out of Jerusalem. Philip then baptized him right there along the road and was gone from his sight, but the Ethiopian official went on his way rejoicing and brought the good news of Jesus back to his nation. I commissioned Philip and he was willing to go and preach, just as he had been doing in Samaria when I called him to the desert road. And I worked with him in Samaria too, signs and wonders following My Word as he taught it to the crowds in Samaria before going to the Ethiopian official and he had worked great healings in their midst. Acts 8.
Disciples become apostles. I call you to be with Me and then, when you are ready, like a polished arrow in My quiver, to send you out to preach, teach, heal, and to have authority to cast out the demons. Mark 3:12-15. Just like I sent Jesus. As I sent Him so He sends you. And I sent Him to seek out and save the lost and to undo the works of the devil.
So what are you doing with all the good news that has been shared with you? As you have received, so give. Spend time with Me in My Word and then go out and share the Words I give you. I have blessed you to be a blessing. Just like faithful Abraham. “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” Genesis 18:17-19. A disciple making disciples. Joshua did this too, so much so that all Israel was faithful to Me and My Word until the last person who knew Joshua died. But they failed be apostles, they all just remained disciples.
Go tell the good news. Go share “the whole message of this Life.” Acts 5:20.
I love you. I have called you, appointed you, and anointed you. I have sent you apostles, teachers, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, have you listened? Have you continued in My Word and borne the fruit of a disciple? “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. Come follow Me, walk with Me, talk with Me, listen to Me, be with Me and I will make you fishers of men. We can fish together.