We have all been taught and can recite the ‘Great Commission”, found at the end of Matthew chapter twenty-eight. Jesus sent His disciples out and told them to disciple or make more disciples of the nations. Jesus was taking the charge that Israel had been given to be a light to the Nations and gave it to twelve men who had been with Him.
If Jesus was telling them to take the light to the nations, they must have received that light for themselves. After all, isn’t that what Jesus’ teaching ministry focused on? He told them that you would be like the Father if you become like me, and others will be drawn to that light.
Discipleship Begins With Beholding
They had to be discipled to make disciples of others. That begins with beholding or gazing at the thing you hope to become. For example, if you set out to be a dancer, then you study dance. You not only take dance classes and practice, but you also watch your teachers and what they eat and their lifestyle. Everything that made them a qualified dance instructor will help you become a better dancer.
The disciples spent three years with Jesus learning what it meant to be a follower of Christ. This is a model of the ancient rabbinical way. Students would follow their rabbi or teacher and model what they were taught and saw! This meant that part of their studies depended on watching how the teacher handled certain situations, diet, sleep habits, and virtually everything about them the students watched and sought to duplicate. We also see this in the monastic movement.
Jesus’ disciples had God in the flesh teaching them. They had a desire to go deeper and fully know HIm, which requires more than just watching. Beholding is more significant than watching to learn. Beholding means so much more than casual observing.
Beholding is Gazing
To behold is to gaze intently upon something or someone. This morning I beheld some deer feeding in the meadow. I watched, stared, and observed their every movement deeply. I studied their mannerisms. I watched as they left the meadow and went into the wooded forest. I gazed, intending to understand these creatures.
To behold Jesus requires that we spend time with Him just as the disciples did. This is a twenty-four-seven activity. Behold Jesus doesn’t end when we close our Bible and leave our prayer room to begin our daily routine. It is a lifetime process.
But, our move to become a disciple of Jesus must begin with beholding. Yes, we study the scriptures, but we do so much more than that. It includes prayer, communion, fellowship, journaling, and deep study in the word. But it also means obedience. Beholding is practicing what we have seen and learned from gazing intently at our Lord.
We see that Joh is known as the beloved or the disciple that leaned on Jesus at the Last Supper. John was part of the inner circle that had close fellowship with Him. It is not to say that the nine didn’t desire to be with Jesus, but Jesus called the inner three to be with Him. He saw something in them and knew they desired to be with Him more than the others.
Beholding Through Sight
One of the first things I do when I want to learn and behold something is seeing it and looking at it from every angle. For example, if I am trying a new recipe, I look at the picture of the final product and then the ingredients, and finally, I study the preparation and procedure. After that, I don’t do anything until I have studied it long enough that I think I can reproduce it.
That is what Jesus wants us to do. We ‘behold, gaze, and study Him so much and for as long as we need to model what we see. Part of that comes from studying Him in His word and spending time in His presence and prayer.
Demonstrating What We Have Beheld
As a dancer would be a model to their students, we must be a model to a world that needs to see who Jesus is. Once we have studied the word, been taught, been in His presence, and someone has mentored us, we can demonstrate to others around us what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ.
One aspect that is missing from disciples of Christ today is the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God. Luke 4 records that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit when He left the Jordan and was led into the wilderness. Part of His preparation was stepping into the baptismal waters to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Later, we see Jesus performing many signs and wonders, including miracles and healings. Then we see Him telling His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon them. Finally, Peter and the disciples are filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, and they preach powerfully, heal the sick, and perform signs such as raising the dead and other miracles. When Paul and later others are admitted among the ranks of disciples, we see this same pattern repeated.
Therefore, we modern disciples must be filled with the Spirit to demonstrate the Kingdom of God. This filling with the Spirit not only brings power but the ability to walk out the kingdom lifestyle with the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle and bearing the fruit of the Spirit we find in Galatians 5:22-23. Jesus walked in power and humility. He was a teacher that practiced what He taught. Before we teach and preach to others, we must learn patience and love along with all of the fruit of the Spirit.
What Are You Beholding?
If you call yourself a follower of Christ, then I must ask, are you one that beholds Christ in prayer and the word? Of course, it is a lifelong process, but we must do it every day, and when we do it out among the people of the world, they must see us as true followers. So let us learn from the pattern outlined in the Bible and be like the disciples.
1- Spend time in His presence
2-Spend time in the Word
3- Pray always
4- Repent daily
5- Be continually filled with The Holy Spirit.
6- Fellowship with other believers.
Remember those that you disciple will only model what they see you do. Teach them to behold Jesus every day, and they will be model disciples.