Disciples in the World

MEMORY SELECTION: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 17:18-21; I Peter 3:8-16

THE meaning of the word “disciple,” according to Bible usage, is a learner, or a pupil. The chief concern in life of the early disciples, as well as of those called out from the world down through the Gospel Age, has been to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to learn of him. The activities, good works, and character that the world sees is a reflection of his image as well as we are able to let it shine.

The thought of the memory text seems to be that even though the world does not now appreciate the Christian walk of the footstep followers of the Master, there will come a time, in the kingdom, when blindness and prejudice will be eliminated; and then the good works of the church during the Gospel Age will be appreciated by the men of the world, and they will glorify God for the marvelous outworking of his plan.

The life of Jesus was not appreciated by his contemporaries. Some of the common people loved him, and they appreciated his lessons. But most were blinded by Satan and were opposers, as were also the scribes and Pharisees. And it was the latter groups who persecuted Jesus and finally brought about his death on the cross. Jesus, when sending his disciples out among the people, counseled them as follows:

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. … The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”—Matt. 10:16,17,24,25

This is in harmony with the context of the selected scripture text in I Peter 3. The vast majority of mankind is in darkness, blinded by Satan, the god of this world. (II Cor. 4:4) Jesus stated: “Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”—John 3:19-21

But, as the Apostle Peter states in I Peter 2:12, there will come a time in God’s arrangements when he will open the blinded eyes of the people and they will remember the good works of the disciples of Christ and realize that it was by these that the arrangement of the kingdom was made possible and therefore also their opportunity for life. They will then glorify God. “Having your conversation [conduct] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the [their] day of visitation.”

The disciples of Jesus who are called out from the world during the Gospel Age are not promised approval of the world or an abundance of this world’s goods. But they are promised opposition, evil for good, and suffering—all to the end that they might be perfected in character and tried as to their loyalty. The Apostle Peter states, in I Peter 2:19-21: “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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