Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28: 19-20, NIV)
In the months July-August we will reflect together on the importance of discipleship and pastoral care in this generation. To be true disciples in this generation, we need to be shepherded and taught to do all of God's commands. If we love God, we are willing to obey all of His commandments, because His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5: 3). The word student has to do with the word education. When the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt to the promised land they also had to go through the desert (Exodus 13: 17-22). God intends to educate them so that they do not become His followers who are weak and easily defeated by enemies, situations and circumstances of this world. We also need to be educated by God for our good, even because of His love sometimes He needs to discipline His children. What for? For our good and so we can share in His holiness, because without holiness no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14). And in the previous verse, which is in Hebrews 12:10 it says, "For they educate us in the short time according to what they think is good, but He teaches us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness." It speaks of how God educates or disciplines us as His disciples for our good, that we share in His holiness. In English it is written ... so that we may share in his holiness (ISV), that is so we can share in His holiness. We need to be sanctified in this generation so that in holiness we can share the goodness that we receive from God in the midst of this unholy generation. And in the previous verses again, namely in Hebrews 12: 5-9, there is an advice that we should not underestimate God's discipline and do not break down if we are corrected by Him. God disciplines us because He loves and punishes everyone who has been accepted as His child, like a father who truly loves his legitimate children, not "easy children" (illegitimate children). So that every Christian can be sanctified to be a true student, there is an important factor that should not be forgotten. An important factor is the continuous accompaniment of people who need to be guided until they become spiritually mature. In Acts there is a story about Simon who was discipled. In Acts. 8:13 is written, "Simon himself also believed, and after being baptized, he was always together with Philip, and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that happened." After becoming a believer and being baptized, Simon was always together along with Philip. The sentence ".... always together" (in English. Yun contained the word proskartereo) which in English is translated, among others: to be earnest towards, be constantly diligent, to attend assiduously all the exercises (to attend diligently all exercises), to adhere closely to / to obey closely (as servants); attend (give self) continually / present giving away continuously; and to wait on continually (waiting continuously). All of this understanding is very important in a continuous discipleship process. In accordance with Hebrews 12:10, Simon is ready to be educated, nurtured, corrected, disciplined for his good, so that he is expected to share in His holiness. Be a believer who is ready to be sanctified to become a true disciple of Christ. Amen!
By Pastor Silwanus Obadja M.Th.