The 500th Anniversary of the New Testament in the Language of the People 1522 – 2022
The Digital Disciples Series
BELIEVING – Step 1
How does a 21st century disciple look?
Getting ready for an extreme makeover!
Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’”
The following perspective is from a sermon Martin Luther preached on Ascension Day in 1523:
“Moreover, the sign of baptism is given us also to show that God Himself will help us, and that we should be certain of His grace, and that everyone be able to say: Hereunto did God give me a sign, that I should be assured of my salvation, which He has promised me in the Gospel. For He has given us the Word, that is, the written document; and beside the Word, baptism, that is the seal. So faith, which apprehends the Word, may be strengthened by the sign and seal.
But you see no work of man in this transaction; for baptism is not my work but God’s. He that baptized me stands in God’s stead and does not the work of a man, but rather it is God’s hand and work. God is the real worker. Therefore, I may and should say: God, my Lord, baptized me Himself, by the hand of a man.
Through faith I obtain so much that nothing is impossible to me. If it were necessary and conducive to the spreading of the Gospel, we could do easily the signs; but since it is not necessary, we do not do them. For Christ does not teach that Christians practice the spectacular, but He says they have the power and can do these things. And we have many such promises throughout the Scriptures; for example, in James 14:12, where Christ says: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”
What does it mean, then, to believe the resurrection of Christ, this thing which is so important, and concerning which the disciples were called unbelieving and faithless, and without which nothing else that they believed would help them?
To believe the resurrection of Christ, is nothing else than to believe that we have a Mediator before God. Who is Christ, who makes us holy and acceptable to God the Father. For man’s possessions, by birth and nature, are but sin and corruption, by which He brings down upon Himself the wrath of God. There is always enmity between God and the natural man and they cannot be friends and in harmony with one another.
For this cause, Christ became man and took upon Himself our sins and also the wrath of the Father, and drowned them both in Himself, thus reconciling us to God the Father. Without this faith, we are children of wrath, able to do no good work that is pleasing to God, nor can our prayers be acceptable before Him.”
This is how we should see the face of a disciple: A disciple is baptized, forgiven, loving, capable of doing good, faithful and obedient to God’s Word, holy, and feeling helpless and in need of God’s help. A disciple is loving, nurturing, studying, listening, praying, and sharing words of hope. Discipleship evolves from a proximity of presence within relationships. We have faith – it is God’s gift to us and impossible to understand because of the limits of human reasoning and cognitive learning.