“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.
It is enough for students to be like their teachers,
and servants like their masters” (Matthew 10:24-25, NIV)
In the previous verses, Jesus has been preparing his twelve disciples to be sent out on a preaching mission. Having described to them the nature of their ministry and also warned them of possible persecution – he now sets out his two criteria of discipleship.
The disciple or student is “not above the teacher” and the disciple or student is “to be like the teacher.” Wow! The first I understand as the disciple’s authority and the second as of the disciple’s lifestyles. These two strands of thinking are in our Lord’s main criteria of discipleship.
Disciple’s authority. A disciple or student is someone who is under authority. He is not above his teacher. Jesus as we read was compares this student-teacher relationship to that of a servant and his master. One is under the authority of the other. It was an invitation to submission to his lordship. But I have a question in mind as I read this: Jesus is no longer with us physically like he was with the earliest disciples, so how to submit to him? Then I remember the Scripture that says: “If you continue in my [Jesus’s] word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31). Thus, for the Christian today to submit to Jesus is to submit himself to the authority of his word – the Bible.
Disciple’s lifestyle. Now, a disciple or student is not only under authority, but he is also “to be like the teacher”. In other word, it is the logical consequence for when a person takes the God’s Word seriously and submits himself to it, the disciple find that his life becomes increasingly like Jesus. It was said that the disciple’s lifestyle of the early Church was unique. In The Address to Diognetus, an early second century letter, it was said that:
“The Christians are no different from the rest of men in where they live, in their speech, or in their clothing… they follow local usage in their dress, food, and way of life; and yet they manifest a marvellous and admittedly strange way of life in their society… they marry and have babies like the rest of men, but they do not expose their infants. They share a common table, but not a common bed. Though in the flesh, they do not live according to the flesh; though living on earth, their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, yet their private lives they go beyond the laws.”
Evidently, these early Christians knew the meaning of discipleship. But do we now, today really understand what does it mean to be a Christ-ian; Christ’s follower; Christ’s student; Christ’s disciple? Is the Bible – God’s Word – our authority in life? Are our lifestyles shows that we are becoming more like Christ? Remember: The disciple is “not above the teacher”, submit to His authority – God’s Word, the Bible. And the disciple is “to be like the teacher”, follow the lifestyle of Jesus and becoming more like him. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.