Jesus was in a middle of a discussion with a multitude of people and He told them, after His death, burial and resurrection they would know that He was the indeed Messiah. So in John 8:30, “When He had spoken these words many believed on Him. Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
There is some discussion among scholars if Jesus was talking to the same group of people or two different groups of people in this passage. Those who say two groups of people say one group would be of the many that believe on Him in verse thirty and the other group would be those Jews who believed on Him and Jesus told to continue in His word in verse thirty one. But today let’s focus on what Jesus said; if you continue in my word, if you abide in my word, then you are my disciples indeed. So what was a disciple in the days of Jesus?
A disciple was one who spent much of his time; he invested much of his time in the presence of his teacher or master, or in the case of the Bible, the disciples spent a lot of time in the presence of Jesus. They lived in close proximity to Him. The bible says the disciples left everything and followed Jesus. They left house and home, the left family, they left their business, they left their work; they left everything to follow Jesus. They left everything to spend time in the presence of Jesus. Disciples would memorize the sayings of their master. No doubt, the disciples of Jesus memorized much of what Jesus said. They didn’t have an IPad, they didn’t’ have books, they didn’t even have paper, so they memorized much of what Jesus said. But for a disciple it was more than just memorization, they tried to understand the way the teacher thought and why the teacher did the things that he did. A disciple immersed himself in the teachings of his teacher, he walked in the footsteps of the teacher; a disciple lived like his teacher.
This understanding of a life of a disciple helps us understand what Jesus meant when He said, if you continue in my word, if you abide in my word, you are my disciple indeed. To continue, to abide in the words of Jesus meant to immerse yourself in the life of Jesus. To be a disciple of Jesus was far more than some shallow commitment. It wasn’t just reading your bible for ten or fifteen minutes a day, going to church once a week and saying your prayers at bedtime. God forbid! It was forsaking everything. Paul wrote I count it all but dung that I might know Him. It was living and breathing and pursuing the life of Jesus with everything you had that your life might be an exact replica of His life. That is the substance and the essence of what Jesus meant when He said if you continue in my word you are my disciple indeed.
Interestingly enough, the word disciple does not appear in the New Testament after the book of Acts. Apparently the writers of the epistles, Paul, Peter, John and the others felt the true meaning of a disciple was no longer valid since Jesus no longer walked upon this earth in a physical body. So Paul wrote a similar idea in Romans 12:1, 2 “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. “Paul wrote immerse yourself in the Word of God, live and breathe the Word of God, let it soak deep down into your very being. Let it change how you think and how you live, then you will prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
If you are a believer; if you are on your way to heaven; if you have eternal life; have you immersed yourself in the Word of God? Do you allow the Word of God to dwell in you richly? Are you willing to give anything and everything for the sake of the gospel, that if Jesus was walking upon the face of the earth He would say you are my disciple indeed? It's time to step up to the plate!