As a disciple of Yeshua, I often wonder what it is that makes a person a disciple. Is it going to a congregation regularly? Is it singing certain songs? Is it having certain friends or reading certain books? Isn’t there also stuff to avoid? What is it that makes a disciple, well, a disciple?
I have been what I like to call a “committed disciple” since I was sixteen. I grew up in a God-fearing home and was raised around other believers, being constantly instilled with biblical principles such as “love your neighbor” and “turn the other cheek.” On the one hand, I have always felt like a disciple. I have always attended a congregation, sung certain songs, had certain friends, and avoided things like telling lies (plead guilty). However, since I was raised in it, I hadn’t actually made a personal commitment to uphold the teachings of Yeshua and be a living example all the days of my life until I felt more able to make that decision for myself.
My personal decision on becoming a disciple is for another time. That said, what is my mission as a disciple? While it could be merely described in some common examples (as listed above), I prefer to think about this in the terms Yeshua himself used. Mark 1:14-15 states that the mission of Jesus was to preach repentance, for the kingdom of heaven is near. Namely, am I pursuing the kingdom as he did? Out of the many meaningful passages we have on the works and mission of Jesus, his desire to see the kingdom established stands out. Naturally, this makes sense since he is the King of that kingdom. The signs, wonders, miracles, and healings done throughout the Gospels and beyond by the apostles are the kingdom in real life.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that I have ever healed anyone. I have never performed miracles—caused the deaf to hear or the blind to see. However, living for the kingdom and living as an example of the kingdom is much more than performing signs and wonders. It is what those signs and wonders represent. They represent the day when all will know the LORD. As disciples, we continually work toward the kingdom. We do this by uniting with other individuals driven to do the same thing, by encouraging each other with songs about what is to come, by reading and praying kingdom-focused words, and actively avoiding what will be absent in the kingdom (and in turn, pursuing what will be present in the kingdom). We do this by loving our neighbor as ourselves, by helping the poor and feeding the hungry, by giving charity, and by keeping Shabbat and the Jewish holidays; the calendar of the kingdom. These actions are not an end in themselves, but a portal with the kingdom on earth as the destination.
In little ways, what we live and practice is our own way of performing miracles . Miracles happen and are very real. Some of us don’t see them as readily in our lives as others but that doesn’t diminish our walk. Each step we take brings us closer. Miracles, healings, and wonders sprout out of seemingly mundane tasks and situations. When we commit ourselves to living a kingdom lifestyle, creating and building a world that more closely resembles the kingdom, miracles happen, small and great alike. Is it easy? No. But it is worth it. My faith and hope is to see the day, or at least work toward the day, when the LORD will be one, and his name one.