No Microwave Discipleship
Welcome Back! Today, we’ll be combining the gospels of Matthew and Luke and looking at Jesus’ process of maturation.
So let’s dive in.
(Click here to get a copy of the Gospel Sync document)
The Gospel – Matthew 2.22b-23, Luke 2:39b-40
Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in their own city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.” The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Let’s focus on Luke 2:52;
“The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”
This verse highlights an important aspect of the life of Jesus, as it shows that He went through the natural process of growth and development. He did not come into the world as a fully-formed adult, but instead, He grew and matured like any other human being.
That means He cried when He needed to be fed, had messy diapers, skinned His knees, and went through puberty (that would have been a nice season of life to skip).
This aspect of Jesus’ life can be somewhat perplexing. After all, He was the Son of God, and one might assume that He would not need to go through the same process of growth and development as ordinary humans. However, this verse shows that Jesus was not exempt from the natural process of maturation.
In fact, Jesus’ growth and development serve as an ultimate example for us. He did not take any shortcuts or skip any steps along the way. Instead, He went through the process of growth and maturation just like everyone else. As disciple makers, we can learn from Jesus’ example and understand that we cannot take shortcuts when it comes to helping others grow in their faith. We cannot speed up maturity. This is because growth and development take time, and we must be patient with ourselves and with others. We can’t microwave what it takes a crockpot to do.
Here’s some things a disciple maker can do to promote spiritual growth and transformation;
- Point to Jesus: As disciple makers we can unwittingly get in the way of a disciples relationship with God. Their loyalty belongs supremely to Him and we are trying to help them become His disciple not ours. Jesus pointed to Himself as the way to the Father. (John 14:6)
- Emphasize the importance of the Word and prayer: Disciple makers should encourage the person they are discipling to prioritize being in the Word and prayer in their spiritual journey. This can include modeling these practices, offering resources and guidance, and celebrating the person’s progress. (Matthew 4:4, Mark 1:35)
- Appropriate application of grace and truth: Disciple making is a lot like parenting. If the parent is too permissive and doesn’t teach adherence to Biblical principles, the children become self absorbed and unruly. If a child is raised by overbearing and demanding parents, it crushes the spirit and stifles initiative and creativity. Disciple makers need to apply both grace and truth appropriately. Jesus personified grace and truth. (John 1:14,17)
- Provide personalized attention: Disciple makers should take the time to get to know the person they are discipling and provide personalized attention to their spiritual needs. This can include asking questions, listening actively, and offering support and encouragement. Jesus spent significant time with His closest disciples. (Mark 3:14)
- Giving information in digestible chunks: Disciple makers should be mindful of the amount of information they provide at once, and break it down into digestible chunks that the person they are discipling can process and apply to their lives. Jesus told simple stories and discussed them with His closest disciples. (Mark 4.1-20)
- Encourage personal exploration: Disciple makers should create space for the person they are discipling to explore and discover their own spiritual journey. This can include asking open-ended questions, offering diverse perspectives, and encouraging experimentation. Jesus asked a lot of questions and often challenged traditional ways of doing things. See how Jesus answers a question with a story and a question of His own in Luke 10:25-37.
By focusing on these areas, disciple makers can create an environment that fosters spiritual growth and transformation in the people they are discipling.
While we cannot accelerate maturity, we can hinder it through actions that slow down the growth process. This often happens when disciple makers ignore some of the elements above and run the risk of impeding their growth.
And notice the phrase “the grace of God was upon Him” in Luke 2:40. It shows that Jesus had the favor and blessing of God throughout His life. This grace helped Him to grow and develop in wisdom and stature. As disciples and disciple makers, we too have access to God’s grace, and it will help us to grow and mature in our faith.
During my early days as a believer, I experienced tremendous pressure and guilt for taking a long time to memorize a set of 36 Bible verses. This discipline was a common practice among the people in our ministry, and most had already memorized the verses in just a few months. However, it had been three years, and I still hadn’t completed them. I felt like a failed disciple of Jesus.
Thankfully, I had a wise mentor who helped me out. He asked me a crucial question: “What other ways are you actively engaging with the Word of God?” At that time, I was reading the Bible every day, spending several hours a week studying it intensely, attending Sunday chapel to hear the Word preached, and constantly reflecting on what I learned. He reassured me that I was on the right track and advised me not to give up on scripture memory but not to worry about memorizing as quickly as others. He applied both grace and truth, emphasizing the importance of engaging with Scripture and encouraging me to focus on my relationship with Jesus, elevating the principle above the method. 40 years later, I’m still memorizing Scripture and love it!
Our Action Plan
How can we implement the crucial principle of being patient with the process of maturing? Here’s some ideas;
- Do a study in one of the gospels and look for ways Jesus practiced “grace and truth.”
- Check in with the people we are discipling and ask relevant questions to assess if the pace of their development is suitable.
- Evaluate the amount of time dedicated to those we are discipling and whether we have sufficient knowledge of their personal lives and circumstances.
Jesus’ growth and development serve as an ultimate example for us, as He went through the process of growth and maturation just like everyone else. As disciple makers, we cannot take shortcuts when it comes to helping others grow in their faith, but we must understand that growth and development take time, and we must be patient with ourselves and with others. We must focus on pointing others to Jesus, emphasizing the importance of the Word and prayer, applying both grace and truth appropriately, providing personalized attention, giving information in digestible chunks, and encouraging personal exploration. By focusing on these areas, disciple makers can create an environment that fosters spiritual growth and transformation in the people they are discipling. We have access to God’s grace, and it will help us to grow and mature in our faith, just as it did for Jesus.
2 thoughts on “The Gospel Sync | #16 | Matthew 2.22b-23, Luke 2:39b-40”
Thanks Chuck! BTW, your website link at the top takes one to an Asian language page, juio.net
Thanks Ed! I’ll get that changed!