DISCIPLESHIP -- SUMMONS TO ADVENTURE
Following Jesus -- Discipleship in John. Mathetes - used ca. 76 times
Conditions of Discipleship: My Disciples
1. John 8.31 - If - Word - My Disciples
2. John 13.35 - If you love - My Disciples
3. John 15.8 - Fruit - How others can tell?
Akolouthein: to follow
1. Soldiers - following leaders, commanders (Xenophon - arabasis 7.5-3)
2. Slave - attending his master - sketch of a distrustful man; make the slave work in front.
3. Following/obeying someone else’s advice/opinion - fitted by nature to lead and be led (Plato’s Republic 747).
4. Obeying laws of city, state: to follow the laws of a city is to accept them as the standard of life/behavior.
5. Follow argument of a discourse - Socrates - “Come now, try to follow me, to see if we can get this matter adequately explained.” (Plato’s Republic, 474 C).
6. Akolouthein, in the papyri used of someone attaching oneself to someone in order to extract some favor which is desired (e.g. advice to another) “Stick to Ptollarian all the time...stick to him so that you may become his friend,” i.e., receive desired end, e.g. Transactional Leadership, not transformational.
Usage and Christian Disciples
1. Like a soldier - obeys commands.
2. Like a slave - obeys as soon as his master speaks.
3. Like advice - ask for direction and have the humility to follow it.
4. Like a citizen of a city - A disciples is a kingdom person and he agrees to live according to kingdom instruction (a citizen of two worlds).
5. A Disciple is a listener/learner and must follow the implications of Jesus’ arguments and discourses.
6. A Disciple is always in need of grace and mercy.
New Testament use of akolouthein
1. Disciples who left trades/occupations, security, lifestyle (Matthew 4.18ff.).
2. The challenge of the word follows from the lips of Jesus, ‘take up your cross daily.’
3. Used of fickle crowds who followed (Matt 9.27, two blind men followed to be healed).
4. Followed as drawn by cords of gratitude (Matt 20.34; Luke 18.43).
Four Motives/Reasons for following Jesus:
1. Disciples followed because of sheer attracting power.
2. Crowds followed because they desired what Christ alone could give them.
3. Sinners followed because He could mend their broken lives.
4. Blind men followed because He alone could heal (gratitude).