Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
And when it was day, Jesus called His disciple, and chose from them twelve, whom He named Apostles. Luke 6:13
Good morning Prayer Team!
We are laying the groundwork for what I pray will be a successful journey toward being more engaged Christians. Having defined “Engaged”, “call” and “to be”, we continue with the last word of the title of our series, “disciples.” What is a disciple?
The word “disciple” comes from the Latin “discipuli” which means “learner.” In Greek the word is “mathitis” which means “student.” The word “disciple” is also associated with the word “discipline.” A disciple, you might say, is a “disciplined learner” or is “disciplined in applying what he or she has learned about the Lord”.
So, a disciple is a learning. But there is another equally important element to being a “disciple” and that is being a sharer. Because Jesus didn’t only call His followers to be devout learners, He called them to be Apostles. The word “Apostle” comes from the Greek word “apostello” which means to “send forth.” One must be a disciple first, and then become and “apostle.” The role of a disciple, however, is to become an apostle. One is first to learn, and then to share.
Our study on being “Engaged” is going to include many weeks of reflections on both. We will first study what it means to be a good disciple, and then we will study what it means to be a good apostle.
When Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, He commissioned His disciples, in a verse that is known as the “Great Commission.” He told them, in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This verse is the ultimate goal of this unit. For us to first understand what it means to be a disciple, and then for us as a church to understand how we are to go and make disciples. We can’t teach others to observe the commandments of God if we do not know them ourselves. We can’t expect people to come and join if we ourselves are not engaged. After one more introductory reflection tomorrow, we will jump in to the question of “Who is Jesus?”
Being a good disciple is a necessary prerequisite for being a good apostle, and being a good apostle is a prerequisite for living out a call that God has given to each of us. And living out our call as apostles, in whatever way that is expressed in our lives (through whatever vocation we choose) is a prerequisite to standing in front of Christ to be judged worthy of His everlasting Kingdom. The ultimate road in life is to become a disciple, then an apostle, and ultimately to stand with God in the Kingdom of heaven.
Thank You Lord for the gift of a new day and all the possibilities it holds. Help me as a student to better understand what it means to be a disciple. And as a disciple, help me to understand and live what it means to be an apostle. May I take steps forward in my journey each day, so that when my journey is complete, I may find myself worthy to stand before You, that You may find me worthy to enter in Your heavenly Kingdom. Amen.
A disciple studies. So spend some time with God’s word today, even a few verses. Study the faith every day!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: on fire ministries
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