In listening to Martyn Lloyd Jones today I was struck by how he brought out nuances to the word ‘disciple.’ All that the word disciple really means is learner. More on Lloyd-Jones below in a moment.
I’ve thought a lot about education over my lifetime. My foremost profession has been an educator in various capacities. I’ve attained a post-graduate degree, a Master’s in Education with a 4.0 average. However my family is one of high achievers, and a Master’s in my family is the low end of the educational totem pole. Many of my family have Doctorate degrees. They’re Professors or Deans in universities, or are doctors or are highly educated in other professions. They all worked very hard for their education and they are all very smart.
I am second and third generation immigrant, so the family emphasis on education was great and for that I’m grateful.
So often, I ponder my family’s well-earned achievements in the secular world (for none are saved that I know of, except perhaps one). Their brilliance, thirst for learning, and great intellectual capacity will become as nothing on The Day. Their wisdom which is of the world and which the world admires, will be as dung on Judgment Day. It’s an upside down notion that takes getting used to.
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:20-21).
And in an even more upside down twist, the uneducated, the simple, the ignorant, have the mind of Christ.
Finally, after three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers... (Luke 2:46-47).
This is because Jesus had no sin. His mind was pure, undefiled, and divine, and therefore the top mind in the universe.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13, KJV).
No doubt Paul had a great intellect, and had been trained in the only secondary school there existed for Jews at the time: the Sanhedrin. However most of the apostles were as the verse says, uneducated and ignorant men. They were simple men, fishermen and craftsmen, jailers and soldiers. The Holy Spirit dispenses the mind of Christ to His followers, and with it, the thirst to learn His word. The men went from being fishermen to being disciples. What are disciples? Learners. Here is Martyn Lloyd Jones on disciples and learning:
The Holy Spirit can make any man new, it doesn’t matter who he is. The Holy Spirit can regenerate an ignoramus quite as easily as He can a great philosopher. Perhaps even more so! He does the same thing in both cases. And when He does, He does the same thing to both of them. He creates a desire and an appetite in them for the truth.”
And they [the 3000 souls just converted at Pentecost] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42).
The thing that is put first [in the verse] is the teaching, the doctrine. These people, suddenly converted from ignorance and darkness, from the vileness of their lives…what do they want? They want more teaching. They’ve suddenly got an appetite and a desire for teaching! Have you ever heard of such a thing? People who have never read, who’d never thought. People who had lived for gambling and for sex and for drunkenness … people who hadn’t seemed to have brains at all, suddenly they want teaching! They wanted it daily. They continued steadfastly. … This is the miracle of redemption, and it is proof of the fact that they have become a Christian.
Many people are “making decisions” but they don’t want to be taught. They don’t like teaching. They grumble at it. They say sermons are too long. They want something nice and simple, bright and breezy. When a man is born again, he wants teaching. He’s a disciple. ~Martyn Lloyd Jones, Acts 6:1-7, The Church and Her Message
Disciples are learners. Anyone and everyone can learn, when the Spirit puts the thirst for the word of God into you. The most formerly foolish and ignorant drunken gambler now seeks the highest wisdom that exists, and is given access to it by the Holy Spirit Himself.
Before I was saved, all my accumulated learned wisdom from University stood me no closer to understanding Jesus and gave me no advantage or wisdom that counts with God. I was equally as ignorant as the most ignorant person on earth. Yet when He gives us the new man inside is, comes with is a capacity for unfolding the wisdom of heaven, direct from the mind of Christ. We’re disciples, praise God.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! (Psalm 111:10).