Before Jesus left this earth, He commanded His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.18-20). When He did, we believe that He called His disciples to make other disciples and in doing so, immersing (baptizing) them into a new identity. That new identity is based upon God’s Trinitarian nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe God’s identity shapes our identity in the following ways.
- As disciples, we are a family because God is our Father (John 1.12-13). As the family of God, we are called to bring a new type of love into this world: unconditional love for one another (John 13.34-35).
- As disciples, we are servants because Jesus is our Lord (Philippians 2.5-11; 1 Peter 2.16). As servants of Jesus, we serve God by serving others and therefore assume the posture of “Whatever, where ever, whenever.”
- As disciples, we are missionaries because the Holy Spirit is our Sending Advocate (John 20.21; Acts 1.8). No, this one’s not optional. Instead, God joyfully sends out His people to our neighborhoods to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those that desperately need to hear it, see it in action, and encounter people who live in the Kingdom.
These three identities are true of a disciple of Jesus.
In a nutshell a disciple is one who follows Jesus, is changed by Jesus, and helps others to do the same.