The Greek word for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes (notice the root “math,” indicating thought accompanied by endeavor.) Mathetes indicates more than just a “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them their own rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28). Jesus’ followers were called “disciples” long before they were ever called “Christians.” Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to learn and practice what it means to follow Him (Matthew 9:9).
To learn about Jesus we look to the gospels. The four Gospels give us the definitive portrait of Jesus in his life on earth. They tells us about him, but also show us who he IS. We learn, we follow. In particular, John’s Gospel shows us three complementary perspectives on what it means to follow Jesus, each patterned after Jesus himself. Building off of John’s profile, we could say that a disciple of Jesus is a worshiper, a servant, and a witness.
I suggest that now is the perfect time of year to explore again what it means to be a disciple. We are entering into the season of Lent, a traditional season of self-examination, learning, and study in the Christian church. At Calvary we will be offering several opportunities to continue learning and worshiping as a disciple during the season of Lent:
- Ash Wednesday worship is March 1st at 7:30pm, and we will observe the historic practice of imposition of ashes, and examine our own lives as we enter the 40 day preparation for Easter.
- Wednesday evenings in Lent will feature a midweek worship service with a focus on the Psalms, the Old Testament “songs” of David and the other Psalmists who explore what it means to approach God’s throne of Grace. (A community meal will be served before each service.)
- In our Sunday Bible Study during Lent we will explore the moral code of the People of Israel, to see how their lives as citizens and worshipers might be similar (and different) to our own.
- Holy Week is a wonderful opportunity to worship and experience the whole story of what Jesus has done for us. Maundy Thursday focuses on the Meal, Good Friday on the Cross, and Easter morning the great celebration of Victory over Death.
As disciples we are also servants:
- We live in community with one another, and the local church provides a chance to learn with one another. We hold each other up, in good times and bad. We pray for one another seeking the best for others always.
- We organize for the good of those around us. During the month of March we will be collecting clothing (especially children’s clothing) to donate to the InterFaith Clothing Center in Rockville. Our Men’s Group and Women of Calvary regularly organize events to serve within the community. We partner with a number of other ministries, and host various activities in our building as a service to others.
- We also live lives of service as we are sent out, as Isaiah 58 tells us, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen [for my people]: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
We look for opportunities to bear witness:
- One of my goals over the coming months is to invite in several guest preachers and speakers to help present God’s word and work from various perspectives. Keep an eye out for special guests to come.
- In our day to day lives we are all sent into the world to bear witness. We are called to be people of light in a dark world. To live and love as representatives of the one who has first loved us.
- On occasion the Spirit may lead us to share more directly the good news with those around us, as we find those who may be in need, who may be hurting, who may need words of hope. The gospel continues to spread. Disciples continue to follow the savior and live out his call.
Join me during the season of Lent as we worship, serve, and witness as disciples.