The Gospel for Real Life

The Next Step: Disciple a Few

What does discipleship look like?

Here’s the guidance David Platt has for us in his book Radical:

I am concerned about a general vagueness that has existed in contemporary Christianity regarding the next step. We have seen that God blesses us so that his glory might be made known in all nations. But an all-important questions remains. How do we make God’s glory known in all nations? If God has given us his grace so that we might take his gospel to the ends of the earth, then how do we do that? Do we walk out into the streets and just start proclaiming the glory of God somehow? Should we all go to other nations? If we go, what do we do when we get there? What does all this look like in our day-to-day lives?

Jesus has much to teach us here. If we were left to ourselves with the task of taking the gospel to the world, we would immediately begin planning innovative strategies and plotting elaborate schemes. We would organize conventions, develop programs, and create foundations. We would get the biggest names to draw the biggest crowds to the biggest events. We would start megachurches and host megaconferences. We would do . . . well, we would do what we are doing today.

But Jesus is so different from us. With the task of taking the gospel to the world, he wandered through the streets and byways of Israel looking for a few men. Don’t misunderstand me — Jesus was anything but casual about his mission. He was initiating a revolution, but his revolution would not revolve around the masses or the multitudes. Instead it would revolve around a few men. It would not revolving around garnering a certain position. Instead it would revolve around choosing a few people. He would intentionally shun titles, labels, plaudits, and popularity in his plan to turn the course of history upside down. All he wanted was a few men who would think as he did, love as he did, see as he did, teach as he did, and serve as he did. All he needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world.”

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, [Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2010], 87-88)

Quoted from the following blog: The Next Step: Disciple a Few.


6 responses

  1. “He would intentionally shun titles, labels, plaudits, and popularity in his plan to turn the course of history upside down.”

    Does not this seem contrary to apologeticist’s claims that He did intentionally claim the title and label of Son of God from day one?

    I was nearly on board, until that seemingly bone-headed statement. Any thoughts?

    October 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    • Initially I was seeing what you were saying, but as I re-read the quote, I realized something important. This author did not say that Jesus shunned all titles at all times. He simply says that Jesus did shun titles, etc. That’s true.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

  2. Matthew 15, after performing miracles and signs, thousands follow him and he feeds them, accepting his popularity.
    Matthew 16, Jesus accepts the title of Christ, and applauds Peter for using it, blesses him in fact.
    John 11:21, Jesus is called Lord by Martha, he accepts it and does not shun it.
    At Jesus’s baptism (Mark 1:11), perhaps in front of many, he accepts the title of Son of God and does not shun it.
    At his transfiguration (Mark 9:7), Jesus accepts the Son of God status in front of Peter and James and John (and Elijah and Moses) – and he specifically tells them not to tell people what they saw, but no prohibitions about what they heard.
    After walking on water he accepts the title Son of God from his apostles, and because people recognized him as such, they brought their sick to be healed by Him.
    He declares himself to be he son of God at age about 11 when he speaks of the Temple as his Father’s house.
    Luke 3:22 at the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus accepts the title of Son from God.

    The gospels record that He is crucified for declaring himself to be the Son of God.

    Son of God, Lamb of God, Son of Man, Rabbi, King of the Jews, Light of the World, Bread of Life. Jesus doesn’t only accepts titles, he coins them.

    The article you quote seems to buy into the extra-biblical narrative of a title shunning (read: humble) Jesus. This appears to be not biblical, yes?

    October 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    • I agree that he accepted titles, but again, as I stated before, Jesus also shuns titles at times, too. Luke 4:41 is an example of him shunning a title (and other instances when he healed and people wanted to confess who He really was). There were times when he did shun. Again, this article does not say that Jesus shunned every title, every time. The point of this article (as I see it) is to say that Jesus wasn’t all about titles, popularity and fame for its own sake. He wasn’t primarily about the mega-conferences. The feeding of 5,000 was great, but that wasn’t the end goal. Jesus was about the glory of God being displayed to a few men, and watching things grow out from there.

      All that said, I’d prefer not to defend a person or an article a person wrote. If you don’t see it the way I’ve explained it, then feel free to reject it. It’s not the Bible, and we ought to test everything in accordance with the Scriptures – as you’ve clearly shown passages that talk about the titles Jesus accepts and declares of Himself.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  3. This is fun. Jesus accepts titles many more times throughout the gospels than he shuns them. I like the point of the article (as you see it) better that the plain point as David Platt writes it. He uses the assertion that Jesus shuns titles and popularity and labels to support his thesis that “Jesus is so different than us” when it comes to message dispersion.

    But what we have is a very human, a very “like us” picture of Jesus transmitting his message in the gospels, contrary to Platt’s narrative imaginings. He gathers some friends, he accepts titles and popularity, he (as in Luke 4:41) shuns titles when it’s to his advantage (on the eve of the Sabbath), he desires to convince people to believe his message and to act as he instructs.

    This has been the way of Socrates, of Marx, of Buddha, of King Jr. This seems the human way of message transmission since people felt they had a message worth tranmitting. Many messages that have turned the history of the world upside down, have been transmitted this way. What was unique about the transmission of the christian message was upping of coercion factor in the form of, hey, if you don’t believe this, you will burn eternally in hell forever. Cheers.

    In fact the only messages that don’t seem to spread by mere human ways are the great scientific discoveries which, once discovered, seen to not need humans to proselytize their truths, they are offered free, without coercion, or consequence of belief or non-belief (only of practice, and not unprovably other-worldly).

    October 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  4. In fact, is not salvation itself possible specifically because Jesus DID NOT shun a title at a crucial moment? Cheers.

    October 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

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