When you think of descriptive passages of Scripture that relate to discipleship, what comes to mind? Maybe Mathew 28:16-20 where Jesus said “make disciples,” or Jesus’ description of what a kingdom person is and does in the Sermon on the Mount or in one of the Gospels like Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
All of these are discipleship passages, but the essence of discipleship is described in the simple challenge Jesus gave to the disciples in John 15:5:
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Remember this is the night before Jesus went to the cross. It must have been a tense moment for the disciples. Jesus addressed the disciples on matters of extreme importance. He knew the opposition they would face with the religious leaders of their day and the dangers of being one of His followers in a hostile culture.
In this time of uncertainty, danger and difficulty, what would Jesus say to the disciples to keep them focused? What would it mean to be his disciple in a situation like that? Here’s what Jesus said:
John 15:1-5, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” NASU
Jesus didn’t give the disciples a 15 page list full of rules and regulations to follow. Jesus simply gave them this invitation: Abide in me. Spend time with me. Get to know me. Remain in me. Our youth would say, “Hang out with Jesus.”
Discipleship is not a formula; at the core it is a “relationship,” a “Divine Connection.” Discipleship is not about competency or intelligence but intimacy. Discipleship is not about perfection; it is all about connection. It means we are connected to Jesus. He is the True Vine we are the branches and a part from Jesus (un-connected) we can do absolutely nothing. We are hopeless, helpless, and powerless without Jesus, but connected to Jesus, all things are possible!
Discipleship means to stay, remain, hang out with Jesus and live the adventure of life every day as He gives us the strength and guidance we need. So what is the next step for you to take in order to be abiding in your relationship with Jesus?
Keep the Son in your eyes,