1. Jesus starts by simply doing the stuff. He doesn’t wait until he has some disciples before he begins proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom of God. So in our own desire to make disciples, let’s make sure we’re actually living as disciples. Let’s be moving toward having lives that are worth imitating. Otherwise, there’s no context for what it might mean to “follow.” Follow into what? Make sure you’ve got a “what.” Do kingdom stuff.
2. Jesus then invites people to join him in what he’s doing. Jesus keeps doing kingdom stuff, but is simply inviting others to join him in his work. Jesus is using the fixed points of his kingdom mission as opportunities for people to orbit his life and demonstrate their interest and availability in being part of his mission. I’m sure the disciples are mainly serving Jesus in practical ways at this point.
3. Then (and only then) does Jesus choose the Twelve. The in-between time seems to be a time of testing and observation. Now that they understand a bit about what it means to follow him, to participate in his mission, are they sticking around? Are they growing? I’m sure Jesus was watching the disciples closely during this time. Only after observing them for a bit and spending a night in prayer does he choose people for deeper, more intentional investment.
So, if you are trying to figure out whom to disciple, I’d encourage you to relax and just follow the pattern of Jesus. Make sure you’re “doing the stuff,” and then simply invite people to join in doing the stuff. Notice who responds to the invitation and challenge you bring in those environments, make adjustments as necessary, pray about it, and I’m sure God will lead you in the way you should go.
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