“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-18)
In yesterday’s blog post I stated how Jesus’ life, his method of making disciples was one of invitation and challenge. Jesus invited his disciple into his life, exposed them to it, and challenged them by it. He then walked with them through the challenge. Jesus was always looking for the indication of growth in them. Then he would invite them deeper into him, expose more of himself and his ways to them. It challenged them. He helped them through it. Looked for indications of growth, then repeated this process. A constant process of challenging them to die more to them selves, so they could live more in him.
Jesus challenged his disciples and asked them “Who do the people say I am?” (v.13) His challenge went deeper still when he then asked, “Who do you say that I am?” (v.15) In Peter’s response Jesus saw real spiritual growth and real growth as a disciple. Jesus praised Peter because his response is not something you can discern from reading a book, from listening to a sermon, or attending seminary. This is only something that is revealed from the Father. Before it could be revealed to Peter by the Father, he had to first develop and come to the place where he could hear and discern the Fathers voice. This was developed in Peter through the hours, days, years of watching Jesus, being invited into his life, his rhythms of prayer, and the challenges Jesus presented him and allowed him to go through. Jesus was mentoring and discipling Peter and the other the disciples to hear from the Father and be lead by the Father like he is before he leaves. In Peter’s affirmation that “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus probably said to himself, “Yes! You are hearing the revelations of the Father!” His is the voice Jesus had been patiently, discipling these men to hear! I believe this was one of the reasons why earlier in the Gospels when people tried to seize him and kill and they failed. The reason why was said, “Because his time had not yet come.” Jesus had not yet mentored and discipled his disciples to the point that they heard from the Father, were being led by Him. He needed to accomplish this before the cross.
Jesus spent years discipling 12 men to get them to a place and level of spiritual maturity that they could hear the revelation of the Father, be lead by him and obey him. He wanted them to become imitators of him, his disciples conformed to his image. And at the central core of being a disciple of Christ, is the ability hear the revelations of the father. To be one with the Father. “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21)
You want to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus invited and challenged his disciples, and he invites and challenges you to achieve real spiritual growth and real growth as a disciple. His goal for you is also something you can not discern in your flesh, from reading a book, from listening to a sermon, or attending seminary. To be able to hear and receive revelations from the Father and to be lead and obedient to that revelation.
Spend time in prayer with the Holy Spirit. Can you hear and receive from the Father? It is impossible to become a disciple of Jesus if you can’t. What is hindering, distracting, clouding, or stopping you from his revelation in your life? What invitation and challenge of Jesus are you resisting? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those people, processes, and tools you need to actively seek out that will assist in discipling and can walk with you in this challenge.
If you are able to hear the revelations of the revelations of the Father and allow him to lead you, ask the Holy Spirit who are those you need to be discipling in this area? Who do you need to invite into and give real access to your life, your day, your rhythms, and let your life challenge them to achieve growth? They don’t need you to simply give them a book to read, invite them to listen to a sermon, or attend a class. They need you to disciple them like Jesus did.