A Moment with the Bible
There are two great lessons all disciples must learn from this text. Have you ever before heard of a master who invited his slaves to become like him? The Lord is asking His disciples to partner with Him in His work. In so doing, they will experience the same things He has experienced. Therefore, the first lesson is that when we act like Jesus, we must expect to be treated like Him. Most disciples have a hard time facing this fact. If we are mistreated for the cause of Christ, we have the tendency of thinking we are doing something wrong. We might even look for ways to compromise the truth or be less forthcoming about what is right and wrong. A disciple should never bring persecution on himself because of his own bad behavior or harsh presentation of the gospel. Paul warned that, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:24-25). However, even when truth is presented with gentleness and the best of intentions, one is often repaid with strong negative reactions. The point of the text is that we should not be surprised; if they did it to Jesus they will do it to us. Jesus did not convert everyone He taught and not everyone He encountered was willing to be His friend. Therefore, when people reject us even though we “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), we must not give up or be willing to compromise. Keep teaching and the Lord’s word will not return void (Isa. 55:11).
The second lesson has to do with who we are and who we are to become. How do you picture your religious life? How do you picture what it means to be a disciple of Christ? Many look only at the aspect of a religious worship service. They think that the point of Christianity is to belong to a type of religious club and that this once-a-week service works to placate God. But true discipleship is to become like Jesus. This means we learn to speak like Him, react to negative situations like Him, rely on God like Him, know God’s word like Him, and seek the lost like Him. In every part of our lives, we are to be like Him. That is the essence of discipleship and periods of worship are the means to that goal, not the goal itself.