The Path of DiscipleshipMatthew 9:9-13; Mark 1:16-20; John 21:17-22Theme: Following Christ.This week’s lessons teach us the cost of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
LessonIn the last years of the seventeenth century a great French aristocrat wrote a book on discipleship that has become a classic in this field. At one time the book was publicly burned in France. Yet it has also been received by many millions of Christians who have confessed it to be one of the most helpful books ever written. It was greatly loved by Fenelon, Count Zinzendorf, John Wesley, and Hudson Taylor. This aristocrat was a woman, one of the best-known women in church history. Her name: Madame Jeanne Guyon. Her book bears the title Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ (Le Moyen Court et Tres Facile de Fair Oraison). As she wrote this classic, Madame Guyon had a high standard of discipleship in view, but at the same time she was aware that the call to follow Christ was not some circumscribed invitation to be delivered only to a special body of believers or to all believers only as a second step in their religious experience. On the contrary, she saw that discipleship is the essence of faith and that the invitation to come to Christ as a disciple is for all. She wrote:
“If you are thirsty, come to the living waters. Do not waste your precious time digging wells that have no water in them.
“If you are starving and can find nothing to satisfy your hunger, then come. Come, and you will be filled.
“You who are poor, come.
“You who are afflicted, come.
“You who are weighted down with your load of wretchedness and your load of pain, come. You will be comforted!
“You who are sick and need a physician, come. Don’t hesitate because you have diseases. Come to your Lord and show him all your diseases, and they will be healed!”Come.”1
That is the invitation that Christ’s call to discipleship holds for every person. To be a Christian is no light thing. It is a call to a transformed life and to perseverance through whatever troubles may arise to the very end. It is the hardest thing anyone can do. Yet anyone can do it, Christ supplying the necessary strength, and in the end it is the only thing that really matters.
Will you take that path of discipleship?
The Master is going before you. He is looking back to you with a most compelling gaze. He is saying, “Follow me!”
1 Jeanne Guyon, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ (Goleta, Calif.: Christian Books, 1981), p. 2. Original edition about 1685. Study Questions
What is involved in Christ’s call to discipleship?
What blessings result for those who follow Christ all the way?
Further StudyFor inspiring reading on discipleship, pick up a copy of Jeanne Guyon’s classic book, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ.
Key PointWill you take the path of discipleship?
PrayerOur Father, we tremble before the call of Christ because as we think about it, as you encourage us to do, we recognize the cost – we recognize in some measure what’s involved–and yet as we see Christ, as we hear Christ, as those words float across the space to our ears, we understand that we can do no less than follow. We must come because it’s Jesus, God, the Lord of Glory who calls. Our Father, call many and give them ears to hear that they may respond for Jesus’ sake. Amen.