"You shall be my disciples." John 15:8
This is another blessed title which connects me with my Savior. The reciprocal title to disciple, is teacher. As a disciple, the Lord Jesus is my Teacher. There is none who teaches like him. The great agent of his teaching is the Holy Spirit. He has recorded his teachings in the word of God. He takes those blessed instructions, and writes them upon the hearts of his people. Thus all his people are taught of him. The most important knowledge for me is that which he imparts. There is no school of equal consequence or worth. I would open my mind and heart to receive his truth. I would hide his truth in my heart, that the word of Christ may dwell in me richly with all wisdom. How happy is it for me, that my Savior is willing to teach me! What forbearance and patience he has with one so stupid and dull! Yet he calls me his disciple. Am I indeed a disciple of Christ?
1. A disciple should have entire CONFIDENCE in the knowledge and wisdom of his Teacher. We can learn in no other way. I must thus entirely confide in my Savior's wisdom. His instructions are certain truth upon all subjects on which he speaks. No subjects can be of equal consequence to me. He comes to reveal his Father's will, to open to me the way of safety, and to show me the path of duty and peace. He comes to teach me the entrance to eternal life. How infinite is his knowledge! All that is, or shall be, is perfectly known to him. He will teach me just what I need, and just as I am able receive it. My mind and heart must be ready for his work, yes, they shall be. I will come to him with entire confidence, and without a doubt. I will receive his word as truth forever settled in heaven. I will seek to him for that instruction in it, which he is so willing to give, and which he only can impart. This is the place for a disciple. Lord, speak, for your servant hears!
2. A disciple should highly VALUE the instruction he receives. When wisdom enters into the mind, it ought to be precious to the soul. Thus only can we learn. Why is there a price in my hand to get wisdom, if I have no heart to it? I can never learn, if I am indifferent to what I am taught. But how inestimable are the instructions which Jesus gives! How important is their subject! How plain and simple his method of teaching! How adapted are these instructions to my needs! Nothing can be so important to me. They cover all the interests of the present and the future. All that I shall ever be, or need, he teaches me. All that I can desire, he will explain to me. All that I can wish to know forever, he will teach me. What can be of equal importance to me? Better that I should be ignorant of everything besides, than of the gospel which the Savior teaches. If I have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries, and have no knowledge of Christ, it profits me nothing. I would say with Paul, I am determined not to know anything else in comparison with my crucified Lord.
3. A disciple should always have a ready and listening ear. He must be ready to hear what his teacher is willing to impart. Ah, how attentive should I be to the voice of my Gracious Teacher! He has much to say that I have never yet heard--much that I shall rejoice to hear--much that will be of inestimable worth to me. Let me eagerly catch the sound of his voice, and love the truth which he teaches. Let me delight to hear him in his word, and to listen to his voice as he speaks within my own heart. A teachable spirit much becomes me. I am of yesterday, and know nothing. I would sit down at his feet, and entreat him to tell me still more of the wonders of his own love, and of the glories of his kingdom. I will thankfully receive that which it shall please him to teach me. I can have no previous opinion of what he ought to teach me. Let him speak what seems best to him. I will open my ears to greet his blessed communications. Oh may my heart burn within me, while I listen to the wonders of his love and goodness to me!
4. A disciple should remember and improve the instruction which he receives. I should lay up the word in my heart. I should meditate upon the truth I learn, and strive to understand the great and wonderful things I hear. As the word of Christ dwells within me, it becomes a light in my darkness, a comfort in my hour of sorrow, a guide to my steps in the path of duty. The journey I have to finish will require it all. Nothing will so well prepare me for this journey as a mind established in a knowledge of the Savior's truth. I may have many scenes in life, when memory will be my chief treasure, and my chief source of comfort. I may come to the place where present means of learning are all shut out from me. Then how blessed will be the word laid up in my heart! With what joy shall I draw out of the wells of salvation which the Lord has before showed to me! Let me be a faithful disciple, and follow the Lord's gracious guidance and teaching while my opportunities are so precious and my privileges are so great!
5. I would bear with me all these marks of a faithful disciple. Confidence in my Teacher's wisdom. Love for the instructions he bestows. A listening and ready ear to gather the truth from his mouth. A teachable and humble spirit to follow it. And a faithful memory and conscience to retain his word. Thus only can I be faithful to the Lord's glory. The word must be mixed with faith in my heart, before it can bless me, or enable me to honor the name of my Divine Savior. Oh, let me thus be ever taught, and ever ready to hear and receive his heavenly teachings.
Shine on me, Lord, new life impart,
Fresh ardors kindle in my heart;
One ray of your all-giving light
Dispels the sloth and clouds of night.