A Manual For Discipleship

The Gospel of Matthew contains one of the best known and most important portions of the Bible. I am referring of course to what is called The Great Commission given by Jesus as the purpose of the church and His disciples, which states:

 

  • Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”  [1] (Emphasis added.)

The Great Commission is based on the authority of Jesus (28:18), and driven by a loving

devotion to Christ that is manifested in obedience to His command to “Go therefore and make

disciples” (28:19a). Making disciples is the primary task of the church. Being a disciple and

making disciples  is the call to every Christian. The term “disciple” is translated from the Greek

word MATHETES (Strong’s #3101), which refers literally to one who is, “a learner; pupil;

disciple.” The gospel of Matthew which contains this mission statement for the followers of

Jesus is therefore the way we shall approach the study of this gospel, as a Manual For

Discipleship.

 

While the death and resurrection of Jesus is the climax of this Gospel, (as in all four of the Gospels), the Great Commission is conspicuous by its placement and marks the concluding commission and directive of Jesus to His followers. It is no wonder then that of the three Synoptic Gospels [2], Matthew uses the terms “disciple” and “disciples” more than Mark (“disciples” found 46 times in 43 verses; the term “disciple” in the singular is not found in Mark) and Luke (38 times in 37 verses). Matthew refers to these terms 76 times in 73 verses. (The Gospel of John refers to these terms 82 times in 76 verses.)

To put this in further perspective the term “disciple” does not occur in the Old Testament and there is only one occurrence of the term “disciples” (plural) in the Old Testament found in Isaiah (Isaiah 8:16). The term “disciple” occurs 29 times in the four Gospels and book of Acts. “Disciples” occurs 246 times in the Gospels and Acts. Neither “disciple” nor “disciples” occur beyond the book of Acts in the New Testament. This means that the Gospel of Matthew contains nearly ¼ of the Biblical references to discipleship. And this is only an estimate based on the occurrence of two words; Matthew has a much greater consideration of discipleship when the overall content and subject matter in the book are considered. The Gospel of Matthew is indeed,  A Manual For Discipleship. In this first book of the New Testament we will learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2] “Synoptic” comes from the Greek adjective synoptikos, which is from two words syn and opsesthai, “to see with or together.”  - Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

#ChapterTitleListen
1Matthew 1:1-17 Manual For Discipleship 
2Matthew 1:18-25Disciples Begin With Jesus  
3Matthew 2Disciples Beware The Devil  
4Matthew 3 Disciples Be Baptized  
5Matthew 4:1-11Disciples Beware Temptation 
6Matthew 4:12-25 Disciples Follow Jesus  
7Matthew 5:1-12  Disciples Be Blessed  
8Matthew 5:13-16 Disciples You're Salt & Light  
9Matthew 5:17 Disciples You Must Exceed Religion Part 1 
10Matthew 6Disciples You Must Exceed Religion Part 2Part 1
11Matthew 7Disciples You Must Exceed Religion Part 3Part 1 Part 2
12Matthew 8Disciples Know That He Is WillingPart 1 Part 2 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6    
13Matthew 9Disciples Are You Willing To Be UsedPart 1 Part 2
14Matthew 10Disciples Know His Harvest StrategyPart 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
15Matthew 11Disciples Rest In Jesus Part 1 
16Matthew 12Disciples Remember You're In A War Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
17Matthew 13:1-23Disciples Know The Primary Parable Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
18Matthew 13:24-58Disciples Beware Church Counterfeits Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
19Matthew 14Disciples Get Ready For Grief Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 
20Matthew 15:1-20Disciples Know The Trouble With Tradition Part 1 Part 2
21Matthew 15:21-39Disciples Expect The Un-Expected Part 3 Part 4
22Matthew 16Disciples Who Do You Say That I Am Part 1 Part 2
23Matthew 17Disciples Transformed By The Transfiguration Part 1 Part 2
24Matthew 18Disciples Children Are The Greatest Part 1 Part 2 
25Matthew 19Disciples Jesus Is Wonderful Counselor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
26Matthew 20Disciples Labor In The LORD Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
27Matthew 21Disciples Seize The Day  Part 1 Part 2 
28Matthew 22Disciples Be Willing And Worthy For His Wedding  Part 1 
29Matthew 23Disciples Woe To Hypocrites Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
30Matthew 24Disciples Be Ready For The End Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 
31Matthew 25Disciples Be Wise To The End Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 
32Matthew 26Disciples See Christ's Mission Perseverance  
33Matthew 27Disciples See Christ's Mission Price  
34Matthew 28Disciples See Christ's Mission Power Part 1 Part 2 Part 3