Are we a noun or a verb?
Back in 2004 I was part of DreamBuildersNetwork in Orlando, Florida. Kennan Burch, a great friend of mine, had a dream of helping men to find and live their dreams. Not dreams they drum up from the fleshly desires of society, but dreams God gave them. The works He has for us to do. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). When we started, we had a momentous stadium event. In the launch video we prepared for that event Kennan had a bunch of dream-builders state their dream. In my time on the video I said, “I want to help churches come alive and answer the question, ‘What do you think Jesus meant when He said Go?’” I thought then what I think now: Jesus meant GO! and make disciples. “Go’! But what about the word disciple?
The word for Christian is used three times in the New Testament. But, the word disciple is used two hundred and sixty-eight times. Of those times, two hundred and sixty-five are nouns and three are verbs. Of the three verbs, two are passive (when a person is the recipient of an action) and one is an imperative verb (a command or exhortation to action). Only one time in the entire New Testament this word is used as an imperative verb. Let that sink in. Only one time. And that single time the word disciple is used as an imperative verb is when Jesus used it in Matthew 28:19. One time!
Jesus coined a term.
Jesus said, go, and as you are going, ‘make disciples’! He was the only one to use the word disciple as an imperative verb. I may be the only person other than English teachers who sees this as amazing. The only time in the entire Bible!!! It is never before or after used as an imperative verb. One time. Has that fact sunk in yet? Jesus meant, go do what I showed you. What He had shown his disciples was not just a classroom or worship setting once a week where he engaged just their minds or emotions, for only a few hours. His was a lifestyle of loving people, all people, as He went about in life. Again, I’m not saying worship and Sunday School are bad. Jesus taught in the synagogues. But this is too important, and too vital to miss. His disciples followed Him for three years. Day in and day out. Jesus taught them by showing them what it was like to love people and each other, as they went. To engage deeply with them. To intentionally invest in them. Regardless of who they were, where they came from, when He met them, or what type of person they were. Regardless of the time of day. Regardless of where He was. Regardless of where they were. He taught His followers by words and by daily actions and by actually loving them personally as He showed them how to love others. If the message of our Lord is important, the method of our Lord is of equal importance.
Ask Jesus to show you how to be the ‘imperative’ verb.