Multiplying through Discipleship
In three years of ministry Jesus changed the world – but not in the way most would expect. Yes, he healed many. Yes, he performed miracles in front of thousands. Yes, he held the attention of great crowds during some of his sermons. But in the end he had a much smaller following than you would expect for someone who would prove to start a revolution.
No, it wasn’t through the crowds that Jesus would change the world, but through the twelve. For three years Jesus discipled twelve men. He walked with them, ate with them, and slept with them. He taught them how to pray, how to fast, and how to talk to unbelievers about God. He taught them first-hand what the love of God looked like in daily life. Jesus’ three year relationship with the twelve is the epitome of discipleship. It was essentially spiritual mentoring or apprenticeship.
When I was a freshman in college, in the dorms at UK an older, more mature Christian man asked me if I would like for him to disciple me. I had no idea what he meant. I also had no idea that this “discipling” would change the course of my life. For the next two and a half years he taught me everything he knew about following Christ – and I soaked it up like a sponge. Then one day, about midway through my junior year, he sat me down, gave me his old Bible as a gift, and said, “Now it’s your turn. Go find other men to disciple.” And I’ve been doing that ever since. Essentially he was saying, “Go multiply.”
Paul had a similar relationship with Timothy. In 2 Timothy he writes to his son in the faith,
“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2, ESV)
This is biblical multiplication. Discipleship. Spiritual mentoring. Passing on your faith to others so they can in turn pass it on once again. This is Jesus’ plan for changing the world.