“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
With Jesus’ impending death, He was reflecting upon the three years of ministry and life He experienced with His followers. They were His tribe, who became family to Him and whom He loved. He summarized it to His Abba, Father as He prayed to Him. In verse six, He says, “Father, I have manifested who you really are and I have revealed you to the men and women that you gave to me. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have fastened your Word firmly to their hearts (TPT – The Passion Translation).” This passage indicates that Jesus taught and displayed to His followers the loving character of His Father and how to live a life that would be pleasing to God. He taught them the importance in having a heartfelt, spiritually fervent life. Then, He brought them alongside Himself to experience that life by helping others, healing people, living in unity, and every day to depend on God. This is how Jesus revealed to His followers this new way of living that included integrating their hearts, hands and minds. In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and Sadducees (religious people of the day) were prideful, legalistic and their lives were centered around rules and regulations. They kept their religion in their heads and their acts were about looking good to others. Then, Jesus comes along and reveals this radical life of serving others from the heart and intimacy with a loving Father. This is the new type of mindset and lifestyle in which Jesus lead and taught His disciples. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Imagine if every Christian picked even one person to disciple in this new way of living? The world’s values and attitudes would be turned inside out and upside down, by touching one life at a time. The influence you can have through discipleship of even one person can be a world-changer, as we see in this story of one mom who was extremely intentional about discipling her daughter to live this way. There was a little girl born in Albania. Her mother had a heart for helping those going through hardships.
When a neighbor was ill or having difficulties, the mother would take her little girl with her bringing with them prepared meals. They would feed the ailing people and take care of other needs that individuals had. The little girl grew and by the time she was 12, she knew that she was called to the mission field to help those less fortunate than herself. At age 19, the girl, was living a life as a missionary in Calcutta. She would eventually became known as Mother Teresa, and she would impact the world greatly with her love for God and the poor. Imagine if her mother had told her to stay at home while she went alone to help her neighbors? Mother Teresa’s mom was a great role model in discipling her daughter like Jesus modeled for us.
Imagine if every Christian picked even one person to disciple in this new way of living?
You may not have a biological son or daughter, but who is it in your life that you are feeling called to disciple as your spiritual son or daughter? Disciple-makers who allow God to work in and through their lives from the center out make the greatest impact in the world as they disciple others. Being a disciple-maker is a natural and intentional way for us to reveal God to others. Opportunities for discipleship can include bringing your disciple with you when you go to church, when you go to visit a sick person in the hospital, visit a sick person in the hospital, take a meal to someone, lead or host a life group.
Remember, you always want to have someone ahead of you, someone alongside of you and someone behind you. Today, I encourage you to ask God, “Who is it that I am suppose to disciple and raise up? Please show me how to be intentional in my discipleship process.” You never know. You may be raising up the next Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Rick Warren, or a person who is passionate about the ways of God and will continue to pass the baton of raising up another generation of Jesus followers.