Christian Living

The Five Marks of True Discipleship4 min read

True Discipleship: the 5 Marks
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There are five marks that describe true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Mark One: True Disciples follow Jesus Christ

We only learn about what to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means, based on Biblical narratives.

To follow Jesus Christ is God’s invitation.

For example, it was Jesus Christ who invited people to follow Him. In 3 of the 4 gospels, Jesus chose 12 disciples and called them to follow Him (Matthew 1: 1-4; Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:13-19).

To follow Jesus Christ is a personal choice.

In one of the 3 gospels above, Jesus chose 12 out of the disciples who had been already following Him. Those, He named to be what we know of as the 12  apostles (Luke 6: 13).

A true disciple of Jesus Christ must “deny himself and take up his cross” in order to follow Jesus (Matthew 16: 24).

Mark Two: True Disciples wait on God in Prayer

The disciples, after being with Jesus Christ for 3 years, had to learn to wait on God.

Jesus had already told them about the restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth. He was also clear with them that no one knows the day and hour (Matthew 24: 36).

He also asked them to wait for God’s promise: the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Even though, He had already told Peter that He would build His Church on him, no one had an idea of the impact that would come with the Holy Spirit coming down on the disciples.

Waiting on God means we live in expectancy knowing God is faithful to His Word. Click To Tweet

The disciples waited on God in prayer (Acts 1:14). 

Mark Three: True Disciples fear no human, but God

True disciples of Jesus Christ fear no human, but God. Following Jesus’ crucifixion and death, fear was among the disciples. Therefore, even after having seen the risen Jesus multiple times, before His ascension into heaven, the disciples were still in fear. They lived in hiding because of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. 

Being true disciples and followers of Jesus, they would eventually choose to come out of hiding in God’s timing. And that happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). 

That day represented the right time because of God fulfilled His Word about the Holy Spirit. Based on Acts 2, about 120 disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result, they came out of the upper room where they were hiding for some time.

The day of Pentecost also just happened when there were people from all over the world in Jerusalem for some jewish festival.

When we wait on God in prayer, we will know when to come out with God. And when we do so, what we do will be God working through us, just as He worked through the Holy Spirit-filled disciples on the day of Pentecost. 

Mark Four: True Disciples talk about God

True disciples of Jesus Christ talk about God.

The disciples waited for God in prayer for some time. According to Acts 2, the Holy Spirit, God’s fulfillment of His Word, came down on them. And as a result, they came out of the upper room. Now that they are out of hiding from the religious leaders, they only do one thing: talk about God and His Word.

That is exactly what Peter did, based on Acts 2: 14-40.

The impact from talking to people about God was that when Peter said: “save yourselves from this crooked generation,” over 3,000 people repented and were baptized that day (Acts 2: 40-41). 

Mark Five: True Disciples risk their lives for God

True disciples of Jesus Christ risk their lives for God’s Kingdom.

That is exactly what the disciples did from the day of Pentecost to the end of their lives.

Just as Peter talked about God to the people, based on Acts 2, he and all the other disciples would do the same all the days of their lives.

That did not make the religious leaders in Jerusalem happy. They feared losing control given that so many people were joining the apostles’ community, the apostolic Church. 

Eventually, they would do everything in their power to stop it. They would begin by arresting Peter and John (Acts 4) because of healing someone who had never walked before (Acts 3).

Peter and John, in spite of their threats, would choose to be right in the sight of God rather than to listen to humans (Acts 4:19-20).

Following Jesus Christ is a risk taking commitment. It is choosing not to conform to the world (culture, society, etc.), but to God (Romans 12: 2).

Doing so, most disciples ended up being martyred. Stephen was the first disciple who lost his own life because of his faith (see Acts 7). Later on, James, another disciple, and one of the 12 apostles, would also lose his life (Acts 12: 1-5).

True disciples of Jesus Christ do everything at any cost because they choose to remain faithful to God and God’s Word.   

Emmanuel T Naweji
Emmanuel Naweji is a husband and father. He has been a Christian since when he was a teenager. His passion is to help you discover your voice (and story) so that you can boldly live with clarity. He fulfills his passion and calling as a Pastor, Coach, Speaker, and Blogger.