While there are many examples of how Jesus trained his disciples, we are limited in our exposure. With them spending three years with him, they experienced countless lessons and experiences of which we are unfortunately unaware. Jesus did so much in his life that the world is unable to contain all the volumes that they could have written about him (John 21:25).
Among all the events of which we do know, we notice that he gradually gave the disciples more responsibility. Over time, he expected more out of them based upon his training. Jesus followed this simple progression: 1) I do it, and you watch, 2) I do it, and you help, 3) you do it, and I help, and 4) you do it, and I watch.
While Jesus provides plenty of examples of such a progression, notice the way it fleshes out in Luke’s archive:
- I Do It, and You Watch – Luke 6:12-19 – After a night in prayer, Jesus called twelve disciples to become apostles. As soon as he calls them, the next section reveals a listing of incredible things that Jesus did. The disciples don’t seem to lift a finger, but they definitely have a front-row seat.
- I Do It, and You Help – Luke 9:10-17 – After Jesus taught and healed the 5,000, the people were hungry. While Jesus did the miraculous by multiplying the resources to provide for everyone, he asked the disciples to be the conduits of his provision. He blessed it and multiplied it, and they distributed it.
- You Do It, and I Help – Luke 9:37-43 – After Jesus’ transfiguration, the crowd tells him that they brought a young boy with an unclean spirit to his disciples, but they were unable to cast it out. Jesus cleans up their mess and delivers the boy. The disciples had a chance to try, but Jesus came along and made it right.
- You Do It, and I Watch – Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 – After a significant ministry exposure, Jesus sends them out two by two, and he didn’t travel with any of them. He has taught them enough now for them to do ministry work. As they return from their assignments, Jesus said that he saw Satan falling from heaven. They had been successful because they had learned from and empowered by the best.
Have you ever had someone teach you as Jesus did? Have you ever taught someone like this?
You can apply this to how someone conducts spiritual disciplines, interacts with a family, ministers among a congregation, shares the gospel, etc. The same stages can be applied in any type of discipleship relationship.
Now is the time to begin this progression. Pray for an opportunity today to follow this example in one tangible way.
As you disciple someone, don’t miss the 4 simple steps:
- I do it; you watch.
- I do it; you help.
- You do it; I help.
- You do it; I watch.