A View of Discipleship from Thousands of Years Ago
By Tony Alany, MBC Arlington Director of Creative Arts
We’ve been talking a lot at MBC about discipleship, namely, disciples of Christ being disciple-makers. As I’ve been reading through the Old Testament (for those of you who think Christians just need to live in the New Testament…I beg you to rethink that approach) I came across the story of Elijah (disciple-maker) and Elisha (disciple) in 2 Kings 2.
See how this passage really lays out for us what disciples being disciple-makers looks like in real life:
- Elijah was a man who followed God wherever he was led.
- Elisha followed Elijah, who followed God.
- Elisha fought to stay with Elijah when God sent him out, never wanting to leave his side. He loved Elijah deeply and was a devoted disciple.
- When the two men needed to cross the Jordan, Elijah took off his cloak and, TRUSTING GOD, he struck the water with it. The water parted and they passed.
- Elijah was taken into Heaven, Elisha was alone.
- When Elisha needed to cross the Jordan alone, he recalled seeing his disciple-maker TRUST GOD by using the cloak to part the water. He then TRUSTED GOD in that same way and got the same result!
In response to these things we must recognize the following:
- It is the job of the disciple to be persistent in finding and following their disciple-maker.
- It is the job of disciple-makers to follow God wherever He may lead.
- Disciple-makers must, while actively trusting God, be vulnerable in allowing the disciple to see the process and struggle. (There was probably a good amount of mud while crossing the Jordan! They went through it together.)
This is the best way to equip disciples for similar struggles in their lives when the disciple-maker is not there to help. Let’s use this as an encouragement as we enter into discipleship relationships as the disciple, then as the disciple-maker!