by Chris Matthisen
In the opening Chapters of Matthew, Jesus gives us a good understanding of the content and process that goes into the formation of a disciple. The Sermon on the Mount for example, communicates foundational truths that Jesus wants every disciple to assimilate into their lives. It’s not a coincident that it falls at the beginning of His Ministry. In the chapters following the Sermon, however, we discover that Jesus did far less of the initiation in teaching and spent more time responding to the needs of the people (disciples and non-disciples). This may include more teaching but the point here is that Jesus did both, teaching (content) and responding to needs (process). Read, for example, the following verses in Chapters 8 and 9 and see if you notice anything:
Matthew 8:2, 5, 10, 16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 28; 9:2, 10, 14, 18, 20, 28, 32, and on it goes. Did you see that in each occurrence the people came to Jesus and initiated contact with Him? Jesus made it clear that He welcomed this action (Matt 11:18-30). As we are committing to live as a disciple-maker then we need to show up and invite people with their questions, needs, and concerns and then to make ourselves available to minister to their specific needs. We can also initiate teaching to a disciple as The Sermon on the Mount shows us. Both ways are needed. In fact without the content of the word we have no process. A disciple needs the truth of the word (content) in order to go forward to be the light and salt of the world (process).
Therefore, as a disciple and disciple-maker we need to be conscious of filling our minds with scripture (content) so we will be qualified to teach others. We also need to be examples of Christ’s love and reach out to those in need making ourselves available for their needs (process.)
1With the exception of Matthew 8:14 where Jesus came to the disciples all other references pertain to the people coming to Jesus. This verse helps us to understand that there will still be times when we as disciple-makers need to initiate ministry and not just respond to requests.