A Greek class at a preaching school was given the assignment
to analyze the grammar and structure of the parable of the
They were to do this in order to gain insights and to
explain the meaning of the parable more effectively.
Then each student was to give an original translation
of the passage.
On the day the assignment was due, three of the students in
the class decided to try something.
One boy became the victim, and the other two were his
attackers ripped up a shirt and then rubbed his pants in the
dirt and added ketchup, grape juice, and mud to them.
The victim's face was then marked up to the point
that he was barely recognizable.
The victim laid down in a path that went from the
dormitory to the classroom, and he began moaning and
groaning and wailing as if he was in great pain.
As the other students were making their way to the
Greek class with their completed assignments, they walked
around the victim, stepped over the victim, and a few even
spoke to him, but nobody stopped and stooped over to offer
him any help!
They had learned the parable academically, but they had
failed miserably in applying it practically!
We preachers can be pretty insensitive at times.
We've all been looking at the topic of discipleship.
Maybe we've gained a little more insight
intellectually, but have we been able to apply it
practically in our own world and in our own lives?
“A disciple was a learner.
A man was known as a disciple when he bound himself
to another in order to acquire his skills and knowledge.
The word was sometimes nearly synonymous with the
There was never a disciple without a master or
So, the disciple becomes a lifelong student of the
master or rabbi under whom he studied.
The disciple was one who followed, questioned,
discussed, and walked in his teacher's ways.
“A disciple of Rabbi Jesus is one who totally
surrenders to Him and His way of seeing and doing things.
As such, a disciple comes with a willing desire to
conform all aspects of his or her life to the authoritative
Lordship of Jesus Christ” (Greenwold).
Disciples have about five tasks: they submit to their
master's will; they memorize their master's words, they
learn their master's ways, they imitate their master's life,
and they grow to the point that they can become teachers
Now have these actions permeated our relationship
with Christ, and do we teach others who are unbelievers that
such actions should be a part of their relationship with
Christ if they would be His disciple?
We've noticed how being Jesus' disciple can transform
our minds when we listen as Jesus listened, think as
Jesus thought, and believe as Jesus believed.
We've seen how being Jesus' disciple can transform
our character when we live as Jesus lived, pray as Jesus
prayed, and obey as Jesus obeyed.
We've discovered that being Jesus' disciple can
transform our relationships when we care as Jesus
cared, love as Jesus loved, and forgive as Jesus forgave.
And we learned last week that being Jesus' disciple
can transform our morality when we
pursue holiness as Jesus
pursued holiness, battle as Jesus battled, and watch as
We are tying to apply a simple principle: to rearrange our
lives around the practices of Jesus' life.
Today we want to look at three more practices which
we can imitate.
The first practice is this: we should seek as Jesus sought.
three actions that we find Jesus doing very often: walking
with others, eating with others, and sharing with others.
These are ways that He sought, and ways that we can
practice as well.
Walking with others is seen clearly in at least two
first involves that short chief tax-collector named
Zacchaeus, who climbed up in a sycamore tree to get a view
Suddenly, Jesus tells him to come down because He wants to
go to his house.
How far did both of those men have to walk to get
from that tree to Zacchaeus' house?
The text doesn't give us the distance, but it does
say that the crowd was pretty critical of Jesus for His
wanting to spend time with this man because everybody knew
that this extortioner was a CPA who kept four sets of books
and exploited every taxpayer to the hilt!
What did they talk about as they walked?
Out of all the people in Jericho, why did Jesus chose
to take some time to be with his man?
Isn't it amazing how the Holy Spirit has a wonderful
way of getting sinners and saints together?
Jesus' visit with this rich man was not in vain, and
He must have done a great deal of plain teaching because the
next words from Zacchaeus show some radical repentance—he
wants to give half his goods to the poor and is willing to
pay back anybody he's cheated four times as much!
Jesus compliments him and affirms that His mission
has been to come in order to seek and to save those who are
lost! Will you
follow in Jesus' steps?
Walking as Jesus walked might not make you very
you ready for the heat and the criticism?
Walking as Jesus walked will lead you to some strange
places with some odd smells.
Walking as Jesus walked will lead you to some
confrontations with death.
Walking as Jesus walked will lead you to some very
hurting and troubled people.
Walking as Jesus will take a lot of humility.
A second example is the time in Luke 24:13ff where
Jesus walks up and joins Himself to two disciples on the the
road to Emmaus asking them why they are sad and what's going
on. They tell
about how the Jewish rulers handed Jesus over to be
crucified, how they had hoped that Jesus was going to be the
Messiah, and some women showed up making silly assertions
that angels said He was alive.
Then Jesus mildly rebukes them and starts explaining
what the Scripture taught about the Messiah, about His
sufferings, and about His glory.
The two persuade Jesus to remain with them to eat,
and at that moment when He breaks the bread, they realize
Who He really is!
As you walk with others like Jesus did, are you
willing to take some time, to listen to what they have to
say, and to discover how they feel?
As you walk with others like Jesus did, are you ready
to share in their sadness, their heartaches, and their
griefs? As you
walk with others like Jesus did, are you prepared to help
them see their misconceptions by using the Scriptures to
explain the truth to them?
Seek as Jesus sought by walking with others!
Jesus also ate with others.
Someone has calculated that there are eight times
when Jesus and eating are mentioned together in the Matthew,
Mark, and John, and eight similar meal stories in Luke.
Jesus was not afraid to eat with others. Sometimes it
was with only a few, and sometimes it was with thousands.
Sometimes it was with those classified as “sinners,”
and sometimes it was with those classified as “Pharisees”.
Sometimes is was with close friends like Mary,
Martha, and Lazarus, and sometimes it was with His own
willing are you to eat with others?
Can we feel comfortable, like Jesus was, in eating
with all types, kinds, and numbers of people?
Can we even use the meal time to become a teaching
time, as Jesus also often did?
Did you know that most of us have meaningful
relationships with about 30 people in our lives?
We know these people pretty well, and they know us
These are people we support, and we share our beliefs and
leisure time with them.
These are people with whom we can eat meals together.
Why not start inviting some of those people to our
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we imitated Jesus and could see
the same diversity at these meals as Jesus had at His meals
Now another idea is this: why not invite a friend to share a
cup of coffee or a snack with you and another Christian?
If you'd do this several times, guess what would
you do invite your friend to come worship here, they'll
already have gotten to know some folks and won't feel like a
others as Jesus sought by eating with others!
Jesus also shared with others.
Look at Luke 11:37-41: “And as He spoke, a certain
Pharisee asked Him to dine with him.
So He went in and sat down to eat.
When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not
first washed before dinner.
Then the Lord said to him: 'Now you Pharisees make
the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part
is full of greed and wickedness.
Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
But rather give alms of such things as you have; then
indeed all things are clean to you.'”
Jesus had something
to share on this occasion, didn't He?
The Pharisee marveled that Jesus didn't wash, and we
marvel that Jesus can speak so boldly and get right to a
rebuke about the Pharisee's life!
Look at another example of Jesus' sharing in Luke
tells His apostles to cross over to the other side of the
lake. A storm
blows in, and the disciples call for Jesus to help them.
He then rebukes the wind and the waves.
After getting through that storm, a different kind
hits them. On
the shore, a demon-possessed man confronts them, one with no
clothes who lived among the tombs.
The disciples must have been thinking, “Whoa, out of
frying pan and into the fire!”
Jesus then heals this man, allows the demons to go
into a herd of pigs, and the people in the area tell Jesus
to leave because they are afraid.
The healed man would like to have joined Jesus and
His disciples, but Jesus gives him these instructions in
verse 39: “Return to your own house, and tell what great
things God has done for you.”
And the man does
just that! Now
look at something interesting here.
Why did Jesus tell His disciples to go cross the
lake? It looks
like to share His healing powers and grace with just one or
Isn't that amazing?
God will go out of His way to share personally with
just a few! Will you
do that? Do you
see the value of each individual soul?
Seek as Jesus sought by sharing with others!
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost by walking,
eating, and sharing with them, and this must be our mission
as well if we would be His disciples!
The next practice is to serve as Jesus served.
Much could be said, but three ideas are essential.
We see that Jesus' service meant finding the need,
submitting to the task, and following through!
In John 13, we find that great example where Jesus
washes His disciples' feet.
A servant was the one who usually performed this
courtesy, but none was supplied, so Jesus takes it upon
Himself to do the job.
You see, He saw the need before anyone else did.
And how He could even think about such on the night
of His upcoming betrayal is indeed truly amazing and shows
what self-control He had as He faced the most trying hours
in His life. Do
you look for opportunities of service like that?
Can you see the needs that others have?
Notice what Romans 5:6-7 states: “For when we were
still without strength, in due time Christ died for the
Listen to that verse; it describes us as being
without strength and ungodly.
That's pretty needy isn't it?
We needed help and forgiveness.
And in that needy and helpless condition, now note
what verse 7 affirms: “For scarcely for a righteous man
will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even
dare to die.”
We didn't merit being called good or righteous.
Yes, we were really in need, and Jesus didn't ignore
this, but He recognized it, just as He had recognized the
need to wash His disciples' feet.
To serve as Jesus served is to find and to recognize
Then we see that John
says that Jesus took the towel and basin upon Himself, and
He began to wash the disciples' feet, even Judas' feet were
included, and even reluctant and vocal Peter's!
What an example for us—Jesus submits Himself to the
5:8-9 also underscores how Jesus submitted Himself to
another more difficult task: “But God demonstrates His
own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Much more then, having been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
Remember that fellow in New York City who saw
another man in the subway having a seizure and falling onto
Remember how he jumped off the platform and covered the man
with his own body in the drainage trough as the subway train
rolled over them, and then both arose unharmed?
That was a very noble rescue effort, but notice how
Jesus provided us with an even more noble rescue effort—He
submitted Himself to the cruelty, the mockery, and the agony
of the cross to save us from having to know
Now if Jesus could submit Himself for us like that,
why can't we submit ourselves to whatever task that might
need to be done?
Sure, there are some tasks in the world that just
aren't very pleasant to perform: some look bad, some feel
bad, some smell bad.
Just remember that the cross was all of those, and
any task done in Jesus' name, no matter how menial or
disgusting or humiliating, will not lose its reward (Matthew
To serve as Jesus served is to submit to the task,
whatever that task may be.
To serve as Jesus serve also means following through.
Jesus washed ALL of the disciples' smelly feet before
telling them to wash one another's feet.
He didn't just talk service, He demonstrated it!
Romans 5:10-11 also emphasizes how Jesus followed
through on our behalf: “For if when we were enemies we
were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much
more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the
God loved us so much while we were still enemies that He
gave His own Son to make us His friends—and this is the
difficult part, then His rescuing us from the coming day of
judgment will be a cinch—that job will be the easy part
followed through with His resurrection, and God followed
through by making us righteous and His friends!
Will you imitate them and follow through in your
service to the Lord?
Someone has observed: “To submit and to serve the
unlovely and the unloving is one of the fundamental calls
made to the disciple of Christ ... [treating] people by
their needs rather than [by] their treatment of you is the
way of Christ (McGuiggan).
Serve as Jesus served by finding the need, submitting
to the task, and following through!
The third practice is this: rejoice as Jesus rejoiced!
In what did Jesus find joy?
At least three things come to mind: He rejoiced in
the advancement of God's kingdom, in His victory over death
and the world, and in that fact that His disciples had their
names written in the book of life.
Let's look at each of these ideas quickly.
First of all, He found joy in the advancement of God's
after Jesus' 70 disciples returned saying that the demons
were subject to them, Luke 10:21affirms: “In that hour,
Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank You, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things
from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.'”
Jesus rejoiced to see man's spiritual enemy being
Something similar happens in the early church in Acts 15.
Here is where the big question arises if Gentiles
must become Jews in order to be Christians.
The elders in Jerusalem decide that such is not
necessary, but they ask Gentile Christians to avoid a few
specific actions that they know will upset Jewish
They wrote a letter with their decision to some of the
When the letter was read to the church in Antioch,
verse 31 reports: “When they read it, they [the
Christians in Antioch] rejoiced over its encouragement.”
When these Christians heard that Gentiles did not
have to become Jews, they rejoiced at the progress made by
the Gospel! You
should rejoice too every time you read a missions report,
when you hear of a congregation's growth, or when you learn
of someone else being added to the church!
Rejoice as Jesus
rejoiced by rejoicing at the advancement of God's kingdom!
Next, Jesus found joy in His victory over death and
the world. In
John 16:22, Jesus tells His disciples that one day they will
have a great joy that can't be taken from them—that joy was
the reality that Jesus Himself would triumph over death!
He also tells them plainly in verse 33 to be of good
cheer because He has overcome the world, which means that He
has conquered all evil!
Because of Jesus' victories, you can be victorious as
world is not your final destination, and death is
not the final chapter of your life!
“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Rejoice as Jesus
rejoiced by rejoicing at His and our victory over death and
the world with its evils!
Then, Jesus rejoiced that His disciples have their names
written in the book of life.
Jesus told those 70 disciples these words in Luke
10:20: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the
spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your
names are written in heaven!”
Those whose names are written in the book of life
will inherit the new Jerusalem, but Revelation 20:15 tells
us that anyone not found written in the book of life will be
cast into the lake of fire!
When your name is written in the book of life and
remains there, your reservation for the eternal heavenly
banquet with all the redeemed is secure!
Rejoice as Jesus rejoiced that your name is written
in the book of life as you continue to be a faithful
“There were once two Christian men who worked at a loading
dock for a trucking company.
One of these men came from a minority group and had
just completed an associates degree in transportation and
wanted to make the transportation business his full-time
company they were working for just so happened to have some
new positions to fill, so this Christian put in his resume
and got an interview.
The other Christian asked him how the interview went,
and he replied that it went great and the position was in
sales and offered unlimited opportunities.
The other Christian became excited, but the one who
had the interview told him that he wasn't going to take the
explained that although the job had everything he wanted, he
would have to give up his Bible class at church in order to
fill the position.
He didn't want to do that and said he would wait
until some other position would open up that would still
allow him to teach his class.
He sacrificed his chance to leave the sweltering
docks and gave up a brand new career in order to continue
teaching his class” (Mitchell in Larson/Elshof).
Now there's a great example of discipleship for us!
Talking about Jesus and caring for those in his class
meant more to him than personal earthly advancement and
gain, and He was willing to suffer and to wait for something
else. He let
Jesus transform his mind by listening, thinking, and
believing as Jesus did.
He let Jesus transform his character by living,
praying, and obeying as Jesus did.
He let Jesus transform his relationships by caring,
loving, and forgiving as Jesus did.
He let Jesus transform his morality by being holy,
battling, and watching as Jesus did.
He let Jesus transform his priorities by
seeking, serving, and rejoicing as Jesus did.
“Go, therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The key verb in this
passage is “make disciples,” and the other verbs are parts
of that process: going, baptizing, and teaching.
Our primary job is to make disciples, and hopefully
this series has helped us to understand a little more about
what is involved in fulfilling Christ's great marching
orders in some practical ways!
If you are not a disciple of Jesus, why not become
one today by being baptized into the name of the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit?
If you are a disciple but really haven't let Jesus truly
transform you, why not ask forgiveness and rededicate your
life to applying ALL that Jesus has commanded to do?
Whatever your situation, why not become a life-long
learner, a disciple dedicated to imitating and rearranging
your life around the practices of Jesus' life?