Marks of a Disciple


The Great Commission gives Christians direct instructions that many have taken to heart, uprooted their lives, and sacrificed their own goals and ambitions. Others have built dreams around the Great Commission. This paper will attempt to draw from the teaching of Jesus Christ, those who were disciples of Jesus, and other scholarly commentaries to identify the Essential marks of a Biblical disciple. After careful review, I have determined four characteristics that a disciple possesses. First, a disciple must place their trust in Jesus. Second, a disciple is a life-long learner and should always commit themselves to the study of God's Word. Third, A disciple must participate in a community with other believers. Lastly, a disciple must bear good fruit and reproduce other disciples who follow Jesus.

Trust Jesus

Perhaps it's common sense to say that a disciple trusts Jesus, yet many people live their lives without the apparent need of Jesus Christ as their savior. The church in Laodicea found security and protection in their wealth and natural resources. Still, as Jesus says in Revelation 3:17, For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. It's no surprise that not much has changed since John recorded Jesus' words in his vision, which begs the question, how do I follow Jesus? Fortunately, Jesus is evident on how to be a true disciple, we see in John 8 where Jesus is addressing a group of Pharisees who were challenging his authority, yet many of those in attendance believed Jesus. "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" We abide in Christ when we place ourselves in Him and continue there, drawing life from his words. This produces ongoing discipleship. A true and obedient disciple will find the truth by knowing the one who is the truth, Jesus himself When we make the decision to remain in Jesus, we commit ourselves to faithfulness and obedience. Jesus' ministry began with Him preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Simply put, our first steps with Jesus should be the omission and repentance of sin followed by the example of baptism that Jesus gives us in Matthew 3:13-16,

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Jesus, however, didn't need to be baptized because of sin, but because of obedience to God, setting the example for all believers to follow.

Jesus is accessible to anyone who will confess Christ as their savior, but as seen with the rich man in Mark 10:17-27, obedience to Jesus requires complete trust. While the man was able to keep all of the commandments since his youth, he could not place his trust in Jesus by giving away his fortune. The "one thing" this man lacked was not understanding the requirements of the law but a radical trust in God that would allow him to abandon all his property and follow Jesus. This mark of a disciple requires complete confidence in God to supply our needs, where the church in Laodicea and the wealthy man in Mark 10 failed to release their false securities in favor of a dependable God.