Are We Making Jesus Followers (I like Jesus) or Disciples (I obey Jesus)? PART 1
This is a repost of the first part of an article by C. Anderson, originally published October 21, 2021. Article reposted with permission from https://www.dmmsfrontiermissions.com. Look for part two on this blog next week.
How do we move a seeker from “I like Jesus, He is a great man (prophet/teacher)” to surrender and a shift of allegiance? Muslims acknowledge Jesus as a prophet. Hindus have little trouble calling Him one of the gods. Buddhists believe He was a good man, and atheists think He was a great philosopher.
Jesus didn’t call us to make church members. Nor did He call us to start discovery groups or plant churches. He called us to make disciples. We need to remember this.
What is a Disciple?
A disciple is someone who is completely surrendered to Jesus. They have shifted their entire system of allegiances to make Him Lord of their lives. They commit to obeying His commands and following His ways, though they stumble and fall.
We need to see a shift in allegiance if we are to make disciples who multiply. Those with unclear allegiances may share stories (which is good), but they will not make more disciples.
Loving Prabhu Yeshu – Is It Enough?
In a Hindu context, this issue takes particular forms. It is different in a Muslim, Buddhist, or post-Christian context. The principles are the same.
“We love Prabhu Yeshu,” they said pointing to the newly purchased, slightly tacky, Catholic-looking picture of Jesus. They had found it in the local market and taped it up on their bamboo wall. Was this a good sign?
In some ways, we were excited to see this. In other ways, gazing up at Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, taking His place right alongside Ganesh and Laxmi on the wall… made us a bit uncomfortable. Was this a step forward? Or a misunderstanding of the Gospel?
We took it as a step in the right direction. Our team continued to visit them weekly, sharing stories about Jesus (Prabhu Yesu) and letting the Word of God speak. Months went by. The photos on the wall remained the same. They continued to worship idols and participate in all the local Hindu festivals with no change.
This high caste family was happy enough to accept Jesus as one of the gods. This was easy. What they were not willing to do was accept Him as the only true God, or to acknowledge that salvation was found in Him alone.
After months of investment, our team decided we needed to present them with an allegiance shifting opportunity. If they were ready to commit to becoming disciples of Jesus, we would continue to invest time and effort to train them. If not, we would move on to look for other Persons of Peace.
Singing Yeshu bhajans first (which they loved to do), we went through the look back, look up, look forward steps. We reviewed the previous story. Some of them had shared it with others. “Our story today is about the Ten Commandments God gave through Moses,” we said. At the end of the story-learning time, we asked – “What must we do to obey?”
“We need to see a shift in allegiance if we are to make disciples who multiply.”
We had prayed much before this session with them. “Lord, please help them be ready to step away from their idols!”
Sadly, they were not. This story opened their eyes and they saw the truth…that following Jesus meant they must stop worshiping all other gods. It was too big a price to pay.
Their answers to the obey question were not very specific. The next week when we went to visit at our normal time, they were not home.
We asked ourselves, do we continue to pursue them, or “shake the dust off our feet” at this stage?
It was hard to let go. We had called them to a shift of allegiance, and they had made a choice. We would move on, looking for others who we could invest time in. We would search for those who were ready to not only like Jesus, but to make Him their Lord…to become disciples of the Master. As we did that, God led us to others who were ready to make that change.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.’” (Matt 16:24 NLT).
- C. Anderson