Disciples of Jesus are made by people experiencing God in relationship and not by curriculum or the transfer of information alone. To study and research about Abraham Lincoln is not the same thing as having been a friend of Lincoln.
Jesus formed his disciples into a community around him so that they could experience what it means to be loved and to belong and for us to be able to see what God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” looks like as Jesus with his disciples lived it out.
The character that Jesus’s disciples experienced from him were:
- Humility. Counting the others in the group as more important than yourself.
“ . . .He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8
- Servant’s Heart. To serve the practical needs of others.
“ . . .Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” Philippians 2:7
- Self-sacrifice. To willingly lay down your life for your brothers and sisters.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Jesus engrafted each man into the group of twelve for a three-year period for them to experience the essence of God so that they could become like Jesus. As the disciples were conformed to be like him they would grow in their love one another and their love for one another was the proof to the world that they were followers of Jesus. Their witness was their community and their community was their witness.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35