“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 NKJV)
The Lord Jesus came into the world to set up His Kingdom. At His first coming into the world, the Lord Jesus set up His spiritual kingdom in the hearts of all who believed, received, and surrendered to Him as their Lord and Saviour.
But at His second coming into the world, the Lord Jesus would set up His everlasting physical kingdom on the earth.
Then, it shall be proclaimed that “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15 NKJV).
At His first coming into the world, the Lord Jesus chose twelve men out of the people who believed and received Him as their Lord and Saviour to be His disciples or apprentices.
These twelve men chosen by the Lord to be His disciples were not the cream of society. They were largely unlearned and poor but humble men with ample room in their hearts to learn and receive all that the Lord had to show, teach, and demonstrate to them (Mk. 3:13-19).
The Greek word “mathetes” for “disciple” in the New Testament means “a learner or a pupil.” But in Aramaic, the term “disciple” does not imply a student but “an apprentice.”
An apprentice is a learner under a skilled or qualified person who is learning a trade or profession. Every believer is supposed to be Jesus’ apprentice!
Disciples of Jesus are not just His students; they are His apprentices. The idea of a student is only theoretical. But the idea of an apprentice is something quite practical.
When Jesus chose twelve ordinary people to be with Him, He intended not for them to be mere students but apprentices, not to be merely theoretical, but to be very practical.
Jesus chose His first twelve disciples to train and equip them to preach and teach God’s Word, continue His works, and even do greater works than He did (John 14:12, Lk. 19:13).
Mark 3:13-15 – NKJV
13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.
14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,
15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.
That is still Jesus’ intention of calling, choosing, or appointing His disciples today!
The twelve disciples were chosen as Jesus’ apprentices to be with Him and follow Him wherever He goes so that they might know Him intimately, believe in Him wholeheartedly and then conform wholly to His examples.
At one time, after the Lord Jesus had demonstrated to them true humility and service by washing their feet, He turned to them, saying, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:13-15 NKJV).
As Jesus’ apprentice, you are called to voluntarily yield your neck under the yoke of the Lord Jesus so that you may learn from Him and walk in His footsteps.
The Lord Jesus demanded this from all who wanted to be His disciples or apprentices.
Matthew 11:27-30 – NKJV
27 “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
The ultimate goal or pursuit of Jesus’ apprentices is Christlikeness—to be wholly conformed to Jesus Christ in all things—in thought, speech, conduct, or character.
The primary purpose of your apprenticeship training under Christ is to be progressively transformed into the image of Christ from glory to glory, to grow up in all things into Christ, and to attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13, 15, 2 Cor. 3:18).
As His apprentice, the Lord is training you to see things as He sees them, to speak as He speaks, to live as He lives, to walk as He walks, and to do supernatural works as He does supernatural works.
Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 NKJV).
How did Jesus choose to train His apprentices?
He taught them!
He also took them into very practical situations!
Jesus’ training was not merely in theory but also in practice. Why?
Because Jesus was training His disciples or apprentices for His Kingdom works, not just to be speakers, preachers, or teachers, but to be doers of His words and works!
The Lord Jesus was not a mere speaker, preacher, or teacher, but a demonstrator. Therefore, the Lord always ensured His disciples were around Him while performing supernatural signs or miracles. Jesus often engaged or involved His apprentices in performing His miracles (John 2:7-8, 11:15, 39, 44).
There were many signs that Jesus did, not publicly but privately, not for the benefit of the multitudes but only for the learning of His disciples.
John testifies, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.” (John 20:30 NKJV).
As Jesus’ apprentices, the early disciples were often put in practical and difficult situations deliberately by the Lord to allow Him to reveal Himself to them so that they might know Him deeper and test and appraise them (John 6:6).
One such situation was when Jesus asked them to provide food in the desert for about five thousand hungry men, besides women and children.
Matthew 14:15-16 – NKJV
15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”
16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
That was a difficult situation beyond the natural abilities or resources of Jesus’ apprentices!
The Lord Jesus knew they needed such a situation to know Him deeper so their faith in Him may grow stronger.
Another practical situation was when the Lord Jesus constrained His disciples to enter the boat and go before Him to the other side of the sea.
Matthew 14:21-27 – KJV
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
The Lord Jesus certainly knew that great distress awaited them in the middle of the sea. Yet, He put them in that dangerous or life-threatening situation. But when they thought that all hope of their escape from the storm was gone, Jesus appeared, walking on the troubled sea that threatened to swallow them.
The Lord Jesus demonstrated His infinite power over all forces of nature or life-threatening situations to His apprentices. The Lord wanted them to know that He has His eyes fixed upon them and their problems and that He would never leave them, forsake them or allow them to be tempted beyond what they can bear.
Perhaps the Lord Jesus might also want to show His apprentices how to walk on the troubled sea and be a master over the worst situation in life, but only Peter caught that lesson!
As Jesus’ apprentice today, don’t consider it strange when you find yourself in difficult, dangerous, or life-threatening situations.
Remember that the Lord Jesus is not just a mere teacher who instructs only in letters or focuses only on theories. Instead, the Lord Jesus is a demonstrator who wants to show you how to live, walk, work, and handle life’s situations in practice.
It takes much more than reading and studying the letters of the Bible to grow up in all things into Christ or to attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Just as He did to His first twelve apprentices, the Lord may sometimes constrain you into the boat and push you into a troubled sea, not to kill you but so that you also may behold and experience His presence, power, love, grace, goodness, and glory in an unprecedented dimension and manner.
Regrettably, many believers today have no desire and patience to wait to see, learn, and imbibe all that the Lord Jesus intended to teach, reveal, or demonstrate to them while in some unpleasant or difficult situations.
Many believers desperately desire instant relief, speedy supernatural intervention, or solutions in any crisis or difficult situation. That is why many believers today are not growing spiritually.
Friend, the Lord Jesus calls you today to an apprenticeship under Him. All the Lord requires of you is to yield your neck under His yoke willingly – looking up to Him, learning from Him, receiving from Him, and walking in His footsteps daily.
That is a sure path that leads to real rest in life!
The Lord Jesus is saying to you today, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for calling and choosing me to be one of Your apprentices. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me look up to Jesus, learn from Jesus, receive from Jesus, surrender to Jesus, and walk in the footsteps of Jesus daily, in Jesus’ name. Amen.