Category Archives: Discipleship

Striking Parallels Between Jesus’ & His Disciples’ Ministry in Matthew

I am working through the Gospels in the Sunday morning sermons right now because I believe Jesus is to be our single, solitary focus and that everything else must find its place around him. We have been through his birth, his baptism and his temptation. At this point in the Gospels, Jesus launches into his public ministry where the calling of the disciples is mixed in with Jesus’ teaching and his power to heal diseases. I was looking at Matthew 4:23 in Davies and Allison’ exceptionally good commentary on Matthew 1-7 and ran across an interesting parallel that had never caught my attention.

First, in Matthew 4:23 we get a line that is later repeated in 9:35.

Matthew 4:23 – “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:35 – “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

Davies and Allison believe these nearly identical verses are a clue to something bigger. They believe that this is a point of connection between the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and the beginning of his disciple’s ministry as right after this verse in Matthew 9 is the sending of the 12. That isn’t all. There are a few more parallels that point to Matthew making this parallel in the similarities of the events in Matthew 4 and Matthew 9-10.

Second is the similarity of their message:

Matthew 4:17 – “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 10:5-8 – “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Third in both places the calling of the disciples and the sending of the disciples is mixed into the teaching (same message between disciples and Jesus) and miracle stories (same miracle stories between disciples and Jesus) in both passages. Following Jesus’ message in Matthew 4:17 he calls his first disciples (4:18-22) after which he performs many healing miracles and exorcisms. We get that summarized in 4:24 which is then paralleled with his disciples in 10:1:

Matthew 4:24 – “News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.

Matthew 10:1 – “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

The parallels are striking. This points to the heart of discipleship and the taking up of the yoke of Jesus’ teaching and ministry upon his disciples as they enter into ministry to do and say what they have seen and heard in their Rabbi Jesus.

“Hear O Israel” – The Importance of Passing on Faith, Faulty Ministry Models and a Bright Future

The generation that was taught the Shema by Moses in Deutereonomy 6 was the same generation whose parents died in the wilderness. They were the same generation whose great grand kids would fall from faith after the death of Joshua in Judges 2 where the Bible says Joshua died and a whole generation grew upContinue Reading

You Cannot Be a True Disciple and Be Unloving

Some who claim so stridently to be true disciples based on their obedience to every jot and tittle and even tittes that aren’t there have missed this…I don’t even have any other commentary on this point, just these words from Jesus, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,Continue Reading

Pura Vida

We learned in Costa Rica that the way they say something is cool is “pura vida”…the pure life. It is on license plates, bumper stickers, shirts…you name it. You hear it as a greeting and as a reaction to something great. Here is what wikipedia has to say about it, “Pura vida is a characteristicContinue Reading

The “Cost” of Integrity

There is a mountain in China called Mt. Hua Shan that hosts one of the most dangerous walking paths in the world. You climb all over a mountain side, holding onto a chain while walking across planks high above the mountainside. Have a look at how scary this climb looks here. Do you know whatContinue Reading

January 2014 Issue of Wineskins Has Begun – People Who Shaped Our Faith

The them for the January 2014 issue of Wineskins is “People Who Shaped Our Faith“. I encourage you to go there and read the articles as they appear during the month of January. I will keep you posted here about new articles as they go up but also make sure to subscribe to wineskins.org IContinue Reading

The Closest Thing I Have Ever Had to Intentional Discipleship

was when I was a doctoral student at the University of Florida. This thought never occurred to me until my friend Eric and I were talking about graduate education and he brought up the point that it really is a discipling process. They groom you to become like your professors. Often, they pair you withContinue Reading

Karate Kid, Discipleship, and Why Some Are Leaving Christianity

Mr. Miyagi knew discipleship. He knew what it took to train someone to be able to do the things he did. Miyagi trained Daniel this way, not because cars needed to be washed but because these were the moves Daniel had to repeat enough times that it became natural to him (think muscle memory). WhenContinue Reading

May Guest Post Series: Women of Faith

In the month of May we are going to highlight some of the ladies out there for their perspective on faith, following Jesus and more. I am really looking forward to this for a few reasons. First, I am really appreciative that they are willing to contribute to this and I look forward to readingContinue Reading

Why Are Young Adults Leaving Church? A Comprehensive Answer

There has been a mass exodus of young adults from Christian churches (including but not limited to Churches of Christ) over the last few decades. As I mentioned a few posts ago, there is a flurry of debate in blogs, facebook, etc on why young people are leaving the church in their early 20s. WhatContinue Reading

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