Jesus Used Disciples Instead of Multitudes

This was originally posted on my church’s blog. You can see the original post here.

As you read through the New Testament, you get the idea Jesus had a lot of people following him. Everywhere he turned there was another group wanting a bit more of attention. But through this, you continually see him retreat, as well as make time for his disciples.

You would think the way to change the world would be through conversions of large groups, dramatic miracles and preaching across vast regions. But Jesus, relative to the disciples he trained, stayed in a small region, many times retreated from the crowd, and almost seemed to perform miracles as an afterthought.

But we come to the Great Commission and see “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Jesus called us to make disciples, not multitudes. While multitudes are impressive, the crowds in the Bible were easily distracted and their fervor was temporary and of this earth.

Multitudes serve a purpose, but Jesus knew he had to devote himself to a small set of disciples versus getting caught up with the masses. What brilliance he showed by making that one small decision. The Church was going to spread and win people through the commitment of a small, dedicated group that was fully devoted to Him and the message He was trying to convey.

As you look back on history, it’s easy to understand the move because it clearly worked. But would we have made that same decision?

If we aren’t being disciples and making disciples, we’ve missed the whole point. In the culture we live in, we don’t truly face the persecution or difficulties that other Christians have faced. This convenience makes it easy to live a Christianity that looks very different from the one modeled in the Gospels. Western Christianity puts a premium on church attendance and “getting people saved,” while focusing less intently on building relationships and making disciples of those around us. In the Western church, we tend to gather in groups for fellowship but skimp on true and deep discipleship. We tend to think it’s our job to bring people to church and think it’s the pastor’s job to save them. But if we follow Jesus’ model, who saves them doesn’t matter, but instead who disciples them is all that counts.

As a Christian, hearing the testimonies of those who are saved is fueling and invigorating. This should absolutely be the case, but the reality is that someone being saved from their sin is the first step in a life-long journey. The next step is discipleship, which requires a commitment and transparency that isn’t common or of this world, and one that has a personal cost.

I’m so thankful for CHBC and the focus we do put on discipleship. From the Wednesday night classes and small groups to the multiple times we’ve intentionally paired up men and women for individual discipleship, I think we’ve done a pretty good job. But if we look at the scriptures, the discipleship modeled is a discipleship that brings individual beside individual for modeling and teaching. And this type of discipleship requires a personal commitment and sacrifice that only you personally can act on.

So I challenge you, what would it look like if you focused on disciple-making in your own life?