Our Lord Jesus taught that when a disciple is “fully trained [he] will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). What did he mean? Clearly his whole ministry among men shows that what he was asking of those who followed him was obedience to God alone. He modeled this in word and deed. Those who observed his behavior saw him in the traditional Jewish role of a Rabbi, or Teacher.
A good teacher is, of course, filled with knowledge that he desires to impart to those who are his students. He desires to give this away to those whom God gives him. But at a deeper level, he wants to see his students on the journey that he has taken. He hopes to awaken a thirst for knowledge, and a desire to pursue it with zeal. All who have ever had such a teacher will acknowledge their great debt to them.
But a good and godly teacher is different in this way. He wants the student to fall in love with God, who is the source of all knowledge and wisdom. He wants his students to learn to depend only on the will and word of God for guidance. He is concerned to see in them a manner of life that draws them ever Godward. Such a teacher is not interested in the student becoming like them, but like God wants him to be.
So what did Jesus mean when he taught us that when a disciple is “fully trained [he] will be like the teacher”?
It seems to me that he meant that the disciple had begun to will one thing: That he or she had begun to be so drawn by the cords of love for God and his will that they would follow him no matter what. That the love of the Savior had so taken their heart that they wanted all their mind and strength to follow. That the Holy Spirit was so alive in him or her that the teacher could be confident to let them go into the care of the Lord Jesus alone.
Was there no content to this teaching? Of course there was content, and God has sovereignly allowed that which we must know to be recorded for us in the Scriptures. But the disciple-making journey is not about educational content. It is about behavior that shows we have learned what the Master was trying to teach us. We can study for a lifetime, and yet be very disobedient. But a disciple obeys.
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
So what teaching must we teach to a disciple? We must teach them above all else to keep the commandments of Jesus.
New Blog Series Fall 2016 – 3/5
— Jon Shuler