You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.
2 Timothy 2:1–2, NRSV
Learning to Be Like Jesus
In the past the only way you learned a trade was to find a master of that trade and learn from them. That is still the way to learn many trades today: brick masons, pipe fitters, carpenters and steel workers.
It’s the same way with following Jesus. I marvel at the way Jesus handled critics, showed compassion and spoke about God. Those are things I would like to be able to do. So, the only way I can learn to respond as Jesus did is to learn from him – become his disciple.
Discipleship is, in the simplest terms, becoming an apprentice of Jesus. We become apprentices of Jesus by watching, listening and practicing what he did. To that we have to spend time with him in prayer, read his words, observe his actions, mirror his devotion to God and do what he says. However, to truly follow Jesus, there is one additional step we have to take – we have to make disciples too.
Paul Discipled Timothy
Paul describes the process for one of his young apprentices, Timothy, “Take what I have taught you and teach others who can then teach others.” That is the key. Being a disciple means that we pass on to others what we have learned from those who taught us, so that they can teach others. A true disciple never lets the process end with them.
Paul taught Timothy who taught others, who taught others. They taught others who taught others and so on and so on. Then someone taught Bertha Norris and Fred Melvin and James O’Shields and John Chisum and Dot O’Shields who taught me. Chances are you have never heard of any of those people, but each of them played an important part in helping me follow Jesus.
That is what Paul instructed Timothy to do. It’s a job not just for ministers, but for everyone. Only two of the persons listed above were ministers; the rest were just followers of Jesus who cared enough to share their lives in Christ with me.
What about you? Is there anyone around you who needs an example of how to follow Jesus? I think there is.
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Alan Cassady serves as Senior Pastor at Navarre UMC, and has been at the church since 2011. When he's not preaching and teaching, he enjoys sci-fi movies and FSU Football. Read more about Alan here.