4 Stages of Discipleship

While there are many examples of how Jesus trained his disciples, we are limited in our level of knowledge. 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 also can 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. Read the following passages and see how it depicts that moment in the progression.

  1. I Do It, and You Watch – Luke 6:12-19
    • Jesus spent an entire night in prayer before calling the twelve disciples to himself. As soon as they embark down the mountain, they witness Jesus minister in numerous ways to many people. Their real job at that point was to accompany Jesus and be amazed.
  2. I Do It, and You Help – Luke 9:10-17
    • In this passage, Jesus feeds the five thousand. While he does the miraculous part, he delegates responsibilities to the disciples as they organize the people, hand out the food, and collect the leftovers.
  3. You Do It, and I Help – Luke 9:37-43
    • As the disciples were gaining more ministry opportunity, a father once brought his son to the disciples to help with an unclean spirit. The disciples failed in their attempt to address it, but Jesus came behind them to help the boy and teach them an important lesson (cf. Mark 9:28-29).
  4. You Do It, and I Watch – Luke 10:1-12, 17-20    
    • After their failure, Jesus still sends them out in pairs to replicate the ministry they had watched him do for some time. When they returned from successful outings, Jesus commended them and said he watched Satan falling from the sky due to their work. What they lacked previously, they apparently possessed later with full assurance.

Have you ever had someone teach you as Jesus did? Have you ever taught someone like this? Now is the time to begin. Pray for an opportunity this very day.

Much can be learned in a classroom, but most of us will learn best if we watch someone else show us how. Watch, help, attempt, and succeed.