the weblog of Alan Knox

Replay: Disciples follow Jesus

Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 in discipleship | 12 comments

Five years ago, I wrote a post called “Disciples follow Jesus.” I wrote this post at a time when I was thinking about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I’ve read several books, articles, and blog posts on the topic, and I’ve seen many different definitions and descriptions of a disciple, but isn’t it as simple as following Jesus? Disciples follow Jesus… it seems obvious and simple. Right?


Disciples follow Jesus

It sounds simple and obvious, doesn’t it? Disciples follow Jesus. Notice this passage in Matthew’s Gospel:

Now when Jesus saw a great crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. (Matthew 8:18 ESV)

That’s a simple order, isn’t it? “Go to the other side of the sea.” That has to be the most simple and direct command that Jesus gave. What was the response of the crowd?

And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:19-20 ESV)

One man jumped up right away… “Yes Sir, Jesus! I’ll go wherever you want me to go.” I think he probably started humming to himself, “Wherever he leads, I’ll go. Wherever he leads, I’ll go. I’ll follow my Christ…”

Jesus warned this enthusiastic fellow to count the cost before agreeing to follow. Discipleship is not something to be taken lightly. Following Jesus is hard work. Jesus says, “Are you sure you are ready to give up everything? Enthusiasm doesn’t count for much when the going gets tough.”

Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22 ESV)

Another person jumped up and said, “Yeah, Jesus, I’ll follow you. I’ve thought about it, like you said, and I need to take care of some things first.”

Jesus didn’t cut this guy any slack either. He said, “Either follow me, or go home. All or nothing.”

I imagine there were other responses as well. “Jesus, I’ll follow you as soon as my job is more stable.” “Yes, Jesus, I’ll be right there as soon as I finish school. My education has to be a priority right now.” “Jesus, you know that I want to follow you, but let me raised the kids first. You might lead me to places where I wouldn’t want to take the kids.”

So many responses to Jesus. How will Jesus ever determine who is sincere and who is not? How will we ever recognize the true disciples?

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. (Matthew 8:23 ESV)

Doesn’t that sound simple? Jesus issues a command, and those who are his disciples obey by following him. The ones who speak up first are not necessarily disciples. The ones who delay and are admonished by Jesus are not necessarily disciples, nor are they necessarily NOT disciples.

Are you a disciple? Are you following Jesus? That’s the simple test. Start with Jesus’ most important commandments: Are you following Jesus by loving God and loving other people?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 7-27-2013

    Hi Allen,

    What I hear in what you wrote is: Keep it simple. When Jesus said “come follow me” the result was the men & women began spending time with Him i.e. they hung out with Him. They listened to what He said & as good Jews argued with Him “is this really what you meant to say?” They began to see how He hung out with His Father, How he saw what the Father was doing & did what He saw His father doing. Like a young son who wants to do the same thing his Dad is doing so that he can spend time with him and be like him. They saw how He lived by His Father’s life and began to learn how they could do the same. Gal.2:20

    I think discipleship is not so much about obeying my Master but rather me choosing to spend time knowing Him & His heart, what He aches for & in the process of getting to know Him, my heart’s desire changes & I begin to want to do the things He is doing so that I can be with Him where He is at.

    David H. Lucas
    Merritt Island, FL.

  2. 7-27-2013

    This is my understanding on The question that was asked: “Are you following Jesus by loving God and loving other people?”

    In (John 14:15) JESUS explains the condition necessary for me to love God, verse 15 says: “IF you love me, obey my commandments” – The condition is I must obey His Commandments!

    Then in (John 14:21) JESUS explains the condition for God the Father and God the Son to love me, verse 21 says: “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

    The Father’s and Son’s condition for loving me is again that I obey His Commandments. This scripture indicates that not only will there be mutual love but also that if I obey His Commandments, He will reveal Himself to me (i.e. I believe the on-going sanctification work of the Holy Spirit is being spoken of here).

    Therefore, I know I love the Father and Son and the Father and Son love me because I obey His Commandments. Most importantly however, I understand this love is CONDITIONAL on me obeying God’s Commandments, particularly, the two greatest Commandments – love of God and neighbor.

    Therefore, people who say to me God’s love is not conditional do not understand or refuse to accept God at His Word!

    This answer to the question is respectfully submitted in love with the added thought that Jesus tells us “this scripture cannot be broken!”

  3. 7-27-2013


    I don’t think we can separate being a disciple (a follower) with obeying Jesus. We can’t follow Jesus without obeying him. But, what you describe – spending time with him and listening to him – must be the first step of that obedience.


    You left out part of my question: “Start with Jesus’ most important commandments: Are you following Jesus by loving God and loving other people?” If we are not obeying Jesus most important commandments (i.e., following Jesus by loving God and loving others), then does it really matter if we’re following his other commandments? As John wrote, “How can we love God if we don’t love our brother and sister?” I think this would apply to any other commandment as well.


  4. 7-27-2013

    Dear Alan,

    I wrote and I quote myself:

    “Most importantly however, I understand this love is CONDITIONAL on me obeying God’s Commandments (i.e. THIS IS A “YOU-UNDERSTOOD” THAT I AM OBEYING), particularly, the two greatest Commandments – love of God and neighbor.”(i.e. AGAIN, THIS IS A “YOU-UNDERSTOOD” THAT I AM OBEYING THIS COMMANDMENT IN PARTICULAR … as I previously mentioned my obedience to all His Commandments all through the article)

    I have repeatedly qualified myself that I am obeying ALL God’s Commandments, I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR LACK OF UNDERSTANDING!

  5. 7-27-2013


    Do you obey all of Jesus’ commands? Are you perfectly obedient? If not, then does that mean that God does not love you? If so, then you will be the first person I’ve heard of to suggest that he perfectly keeps Jesus’ commands.

    God loved us while we were sinners – even before we could begin to think about keeping his commands – and nothing will separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ. For those of us in Christ, God’s love is unconditional. Our obedience does not earn his love; our obedience is a response to his love.


  6. 7-28-2013

    Even I can get on board with this ‘discipleship’!!

    Interesting in Luke 8 – Jesus told them to go to the other side but a storm came up and nearly swamped them. He rebuked them for their lack of faith because He told them they were going to the other side.

    When He tells you you’re going somewhere – that’s where you’re going – even though the situation and circumstances may not be all that favorable. Enjoy the ride 🙂

  7. 7-28-2013

    p.s. This was a ‘discipleship’ experience they were never going to forget…… Following Jesus!!!!

  8. 7-28-2013


    Dear Alan,

    We today know God through His rational Word. What you say contradicts God’s rational Word. You allow emotionalism to cloud what God tells us in His Holy Word.

    You do not understand the “sanctification process” … All our sins are forgiven at full emersion adult Baptism and we receive His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Baptism itself doesn’t save us But it marks the beginning of our spiritual journey…(Note – Baptism marks the HOW and WHEN we cross over from darkness into light and from death into life) …then, any new sins are removed by our confessing them to God … sanctification is how we remain Holy as we grow in our spiritual life … it is called “the sanctification process”).

    When you refuse to believe and accept what Jesus says in (John 14:15 – 21)you are acting against Christ. Your words are going against Jesus’s last commandment in the Bible (Revelation 22:18-19) you are adding and subtracting to His Word.

    Once again, This is my qualified understanding complete with scripture … HOWEVER, please note, that you still refuse to qualify anything you write. You pass off your personal emotionalism as God’s Word and dear not to discuss the above scriptures DIRECTLY (because Jesus’ Words are so to the point you have no defense against them without making yourself out as being against Christ) but attack me personally because I strive to do the right thing BECAUSE I understand the “perfect” spoken of in these scriptures is in the Greek means “maturity.”

    If you ask me “are you perfect” … I will say yes because: I am working out my salvation as order by God through: Belief, Obedience, Love and Perseverance without adding or subtracting from His Word with MATURITY or PERFECTNESS as my goal. Once again, perfect means maturity in the Greek and that is what I am doing – I am going through the maturing or sanctification process.

    I believe each of us have to work out our salvation following God’s plan by obeying all His commandments and not put a personal spin on them by picking and choosing or refusing to acknowledge they exist if they conflict with our personal understandings.

    Once again, This is just one man’s understanding of what scripture calls us to do. I am truly praying that you can understand what it took me 68 years of study, prayer and mediation to understand.

    Respectfully submitted in love as my understanding of God’s Word

  9. 7-28-2013


    You obviously disagree with me on many points, and you’ve already decided that I lack basic understanding and that I’m proud. Instead of dealing with everything, it may be easier to take it one step at a time.

    You write, “We today know God through His rational Word. What you say contradicts God’s rational Word.” Can you explain what you mean by “His rational Word”? If you’re referring to the Scriptures, can you support your statement from the Scriptures? (i.e., can you show me where Scripture says that we will now know God through the Scriptures.)


  10. 7-28-2013


    I like your description from Luke 8. That seems to be the basis of being a disciple of Jesus: He speaks to us (in many different ways), and we respond to what he tells us.


  11. 7-28-2013

    Dear Alan,

    You have eyes and ears but refuse to see and hear. I have answered all your questions so far BUT you have answered NONE of mine … you simply skip answering and ask another question – attempting to change the topic.

    Alan, it is time for me to leave you and your group. I have backed up my answers with scripture written in RED INK in the IMPERATIVE COMMAND by Jesus but you prefer to trust you own intuition then what Jesus COMMANDS-(I am speaking here specifically of (John 14:14-21)regarding God’s love.

    You reserve the right to interpret God’s Word for yourself but as a self proclaimed teacher think you have the right to interpret God’s Word for others – a bit of a double standard don’t you think.

    I cannot help you … I am leaving … and knocking the dust off my shoes.

    Respectfully submitted in love, a watchman of His Word, Peter

  12. 7-28-2013


    I’m glad that God has more patience with me. If you decide you want to continue our discussion, I’d love to begin with the questions I asked in the previous comment. It’s much easier to discuss in blog comments one question at a time.