Friday, July 8, 2016

Tis the Reason

Mrs. Eaton heard the back door slam and turned to see little Sally dripping mud all over her nice clean floor. 

“Sally, what happened to you?” asked her mother.  “We were playing follow the leader and everything that Bobby did we had to do.”   

Momma continued in her questioning.  “So how does this reasoning add up to your clothes getting so dirty child?”  

Sally went on to tell her tale of how playing follow the leader with her friends led to the grimy kid now standing in the kitchen. 

“Well, Bobby ran around the big oak tree so we ran around the big oak tree. Then we hopped down the dirt path behind the playground pretending we were rabbits.  Then Bobby jumped over the mud puddle near Mrs. Jones’ fence, but when I tried I didn’t quite make it and landed in the middle of it.” 

“Why were you following Bobby in the first place, and why did you do everything he did especially when you saw him jumping over the mud puddle?”  Sally’s mom inquired. 

Sally was quick to respond. “I like Bobby, and after all mom … he was the leader!” 

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I am so happy for your visit and hope that you come back each week to participate in the weekly challenges.  God has been faithful and we expect His favor to abound in the lives of those who chose to be Discipled by Jesus on Daily Favor Blog.
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Don't miss out on this week's challenge (below).
Be sure to visit Tell Me, Q & A or other sections.
What Is the Reason? 
I love that story and when my husband shared it with me I smiled picturing Sally missing the landing. It's funny listening to the reasoning behind the stories people tell.  The little puddle jumper sure had her excuses for following someone she looked up to in her social group.  Growing into adulthood it's not that much different is it?
There are tons of reasons why we follow after people. As I've gotten more mature (definitely not older), my choices have changed when it comes to those I admire, seek or follow.  It is something that led me into this new series on Daily Favor and questioning the real reason why we follow Jesus.
What Is a Disciple?
When I began this study on discipleship my thoughts took me between the pages rather than looking at each account as a mere story.  I wondered why anyone may want to be a disciple or follower of an individual.   

First we have to define what a disciple or discipleship means.  In the New Testament the term in Greek refers to anyone who is a learner, student, apprentice or pupil of a mentor or teacher.  Usually we think along the lines of religious leaders when describing discipleship, but that’s not always the case.  

When studying the Bible we learn about many apprenticeships during the Greco-Roman days of the first century. Judaism was well known for this practice in their religious or political fields.  Even the Pharisees had their own type of trainees, claiming to be “disciples” of Moses. (John 9:28 & 29) 

If you were a boy during the time of Christ, Judaism customs were mainly taught at home based on and through learning of the Torah.  Usually the father would teach the young men, and by the time he reached thirteen his formal education ended.   

In order to continue in their training to prepare for a position in the synagogue, become a teacher, scribe or judge, they would have to study under a noted scholar in the field.  

The Bible gives us the Apostle Paul as an example of this when he left home to study law under the famous Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem. (Acts 5:34; 22:3)  However our study is going to begin before his time; all the way back to the first New Testament disciples. 

Probably the most well known to have had disciples and followers was the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist. (Mark 2:18; Luke 11:1; John 3:25; Acts 19:1-7) This is what actually brings us to the reason we follow Jesus. 

Making the Switch 

Let’s go back in time to when an energetic, inquisitive seeker of truth stepped out of his comfort zone to follow someone who seemed to know more than his former instructors.   When it came to facts concerning their coming Messiah, John the Baptist spoke of things no one else had and knew information that had never been heard. 

Born in the fishing village of Bethsaida, young Andrew was a fisherman like his brother Simon Peter.  Steeped in Jewish tradition he anticipated the coming Messiah as told in the Old Testament.   
John the Baptist knew about such a person. He traveled from city to city declaring that sinners repent and “prepare (make way) for the Lord.”  This intrigued Andrew leading him to leave the family business to be a follower, disciple of John the Baptist as he journeyed across the land. 

Those who had heard of John often wondered if he was indeed the Messiah, but over and over he dispelled those rumors proclaiming that he was not the Christ. (John 1:20) 

One particular day while John was preaching he saw Jesus walking in the distance.  With Andrew and another of his disciples looking on, John pointed at Jesus and said to them: “Look, the Lamb of God.” (John 1:35-36) At that point The Baptist lost a follower or two.  What was the reason for leaving the discipleship of their teacher or leader? 

What Do You Want? 

I don’t know, but I suppose if I was a boy I’d understand why trekking after a wild man in the wilderness who ate locust and honey would interest me. Then again I too might make a switch if I figured the other person could deliver more along the way. 

How many words were literally out of John’s mouth before the two disciples of his fled the scene hoping to track down the man they’ve been expecting all these years?  Before long the boys were stalking Jesus.  Okay, stalk may be a bit exaggerated, but how would people react in this day if two people out of nowhere started following you?  We’d call the police after zapping them with a few good pepper sprays.   

Jesus was continuing on his walk when he noticed he was being followed.  Keeping His cool Jesus spun around saying, “What do you dudes want?  Why are you following Me?” 

This is my husband’s modern day version, but I think we can imagine how it really went that day. 

“Jesus looked around and saw them following. What do you want? He asked them.  They replied, Rabbi (which means Master, Teacher), where are you staying? (Where do you live?) 

Come and see, Jesus said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with Him to where He lived, and they remained with Jesus the rest of the day.” (taken from John 1) 

Could it be possible that the only thing Andrew wanted was to see where Jesus (whom John the Baptist said was the Lamb of God) lived?  Somehow I doubt that was all there was to it.  Little did the new followers know what was in store for them from that point on in their lives. 

Favor from the Start 

Something I found exhilarating is that from the time Andrew met Jesus, he began to experience favor in his life.  Did you take notice of Jesus’ response to a stranger’s request?  “Come and see.”  How many times have you invited a complete stranger to come and check out your “crib”? 

Andrew was basing his moves on what he believed from John the Baptist, and surely if this were the Messiah He would live in a palace or grand mansion.   Just what does a Messiah’s home look like he probably thought, and in his childlike innocence Andrew didn’t hesitate to ask where Jesus lived hoping he’d get a glimpse at a magnificent abode. 

Jesus not only bid the two disciples of John the Baptist to tag along on His way home, but He invited them in for a visit.  What kind of questions do you think rattled out of their mouths?  Andrew would be the first to sit at the feet of the Master as Jesus answered questions for His new follower.   

Did Andrew seek the favor and blessings that came from journeying with Jesus, or was it something else?  What changed in his thinking that turned him from being a follower to a disciple of Christ for the rest of his life? 

This Week’s Challenge:
What Tis Your Reason? 

Coming to Christ as a child I really didn’t understand salvation completely. I only knew that I didn’t want to go to hell and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins to prevent it from happening.  The message John the Baptist preached did it for me. 

Working out my salvation (as the Apostle Paul put it) came over time as I learned what accompanied my free gift from God.  Blessings, mercy, grace and favor were things I had to learn from teachers, preachers, mentors and religious leaders knowledgeable of the gospel of Christ.  They could teach me of Jesus, but I had to let the Lord disciple me if I was to be a true follower of the One who gave His life for me. 

When seeking the Lord for guidance in this post He had me answer two important questions.  Looking at my own reasons for following Jesus wasn’t as cut and dry as I would have liked, which brings me to this week’s challenge. 

Ask yourself these two questions and think carefully before answering.  They may seem the same, but they aren’t. 

1 – Why are you following Jesus?

2 – Why do you want to follow Jesus? 

What “tis your true reason” for following Jesus, and why do you want to be “discipled” by Him?  Are you hoping that in doing so you’ll reap bushels of favor and be on His good side?  

Are your reasons for following someone similar to little Sally’s, where you follow anyone just because they are the leader and you like them?  Or are you a young Andrew faithfully seeking the truth of the Messiah who came to save the world? 

Andrew finally found the joy he was searching for when he let Christ became his all. He didn’t turn back on his decision, because Christ was enough for him and everything he needed would now be provided through the Messiah … God’s favor came when Andrew made the decision to let Jesus disciple him for the rest of his earthly journey. 

In the coming weeks we will learn how many follow(ed) Christ for the wrong reason and will hear Him say,  

“[I never knew you] Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 7:21 NKJV) 

“And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart
from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23 NKJV)

What will you hear when you stand before the Lord? 


If this article has encouraged or helped you, please consider sharing it by using the social media icons provided at the end of this post. 

Until next time, favor begins when you follow the Master! 

“Favor falls on those I disciple.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Notes: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

... and yes the word "discipled" isn't a word used by the world, but that of believers. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible.
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Image:  Girl Mud Puddle Jumping  What is a disciple?  John the Baptist disciples  Jesus said: Come and See

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