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What is the meaning of the term discipleship?

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Introduction

What is the meaning of the term discipleship? Discipleship is the keeping to the rules, and requirements of being a disciple. That is to accompany Jesus on his mission and participate in his work. To evangelise as Andrew does "we have found the messiah." (Jn1:41), and the Samaritan woman does in chapter 4, and by doing so gather others to believe in Jesus. Karl Heinz Renssturf says being a disciple is to receive the authority of Jesus to guide the people of God and continue his work on earth, as shown in Jn13:20. Outline and examine Jesus' teaching in the Fourth Gospel on the nature of discipleship. In John's Gospel disciples are described as "the flock" and as "the vine", but as Snakenberger identifies; disciples are essentially the followers of Jesus, but says there may be a difference between 'The Twelve' and 'The Crowd'. Kostenberger says that the Disciples follow Jesus closely and learn from him, where as the Crowd follow from a distance and do not learn. The crowd witness the signs but their faith is still questionable. Kostenberger talks of the mission of the disciples as being central in John, and all missions being derived from that of Jesus. ...read more.

Middle

Lightfoot also agrees that disciples can show a "great slowness of apprehension". Orchard believes that by saying "you shall never wash my feet." Peter is treating Jesus' as a slave. But still post to this Jesus refers to his disciples in a loving way. In chapter 15 he commands them to "love one another as I have loved you." Orchard says this is Jesus' bottom line, and Segovia sees this as the "pre-eminent command" This is again one of many responsibilities identified by... Others include to share the responsibility of serving one another (13:14-17), to obey Jesus' commandments (15:14) and to live in unity with one another. These are the responsibilities, but Helen Orchard identifies that Jesus also teaches of the dangers of discipleship, the cost of discipleship, in chapter 15:18-16:4 Jesus identifies that the disciples must expect hatred, persecution, expulsion, and even the ultimate cost, death. But Jesus also teaches of the rewards received for the believers. ...identifies the passage (1:12) saying disciples have the privilege of becoming a child of God, and passages (3:16, 20:31) saying they will receive the gift of eternal life. He says in 15:10, that the disciples will remain in his love, and "he who follows me will not be walking in the dark, he will have the light of light." ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, all disciples are to love one another (13:35) to share the responsibility of serving one another (13:14-17), to obey Jesus' commandments (15:14) and to live in unity with one another (17:20-25). And so believers would look to Jesus' teaching to show them how to live their lives. Kostenberger says that the disciples' responsibilities may be seen to extend to later believers, and that privileges do the same. "What is primarily true for Jesus' original followers extends derivatively also to later believers." And so numerous rewards are also extended to every believer, for example; every believer has the privilege of becoming a child of God (1:12) or every believer will receive the gift of eternal life (13:16, 20:31) The original readers of the fourth gospel could look to Jesus' teaching to find comfort that they are no less than the original followers of Jesus. Jesus says, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe". In John Jesus elevates "believing" over mere "seeing", rebuking Thomas' unbelief. Similarly, the original readers may look to the fact that the original twelve followed Jesus while disciples with inadequate faith fell away. The twelve, the early Christians have a strong faith, where as "the Jews" fail to arrive at full faith in Jesus. (8:31-59, 9:41, 10:1-39, 12:39-50) this would show the Christians, their faith is the stronger one. ...read more.

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