What Jesus’ Disciples Can Expect in This Life

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

When we are saved, we become disciples of Jesus, but that’s when it really starts to get hard.

Expect Persecution

When we are saved, we become disciples of Jesus, but that’s when it really starts to get hard. All of a sudden, co-workers, family and friends started distancing themselves from us. We no longer did the things we used to do and they didn’t like the change they see in us. It convicts them of their sin, but It was only by God’s grace that we were saved and not others (Eph 2:8-9), so we can’t ever think we were superior just because we were saved and most of the people we know were not. The Bible teaches us that we should expect persecution because “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). That’s why only 1 in 4 of the seeds of the Sower took root. One-fourth of the seed wilted away after persecution came. In fact, persecution roots many who thought they were saved, but never truly were (1 John 2:19). I’ve heard many say to me that they know Jesus, but the vital question is, “Does Jesus know you!” Many say this but they never read their Bible, pray rarely, and never darken the door of a church. They say they know Jesus, but it is of vital, eternal importance that Jesus knows them, not whether they knew Him (Matt 7:21-23).  People are not only known about by their friends, but by their enemies.

Discipleship in Matthew

Jesus never held back the truth from His disciples. He said that since they hated Him, they will also be hated on account of His name. Our Lord said that “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22). Later, “Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24). If we follow Him, we will be the hands and feet of Jesus, ministering to those in the hospital, prison, and the homeless and hungry (Matt 25:31-39). These were works that God had long ago ordained that we would walk in (Eph 2:10), and how does Jesus react to our helping others? He says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40).

Discipleship in Luke

Jesus reminds us that “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want to be more like Jesus? I do, but our Lord says it will prove costly. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Not only that, but “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). And if that were not enough, our Lord and Master said that “any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Doesn’t sound easy at all does it? We must count the cost. Salvation is free to receive, but costly for Jesus Christ and even for our own lives, but we are no longer our own because we “were bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:20a).

Discipleship in Mark and John

There are far more Bible verses about discipleship in Luke and Matthew, but even in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John, we find strong support for the fact that disciples will not have it easy in this life and in this world. We are in enemy territory. Even so, Jesus beckons to all of us, saying, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). In the Gospel of John, Jesus reminds His disciples that we must remain in the Word of God, for “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31). If we remain in His Word, the Word will remain in us, and that will not be popular with the world, so “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). He was hated first, and read what they did to many of the Old Testament prophets and saints (Heb 11), so we cannot lose heart when we’re persecuted. Our Lord reminds us all that “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20). We must love them back though, even though they may be our enemies (Matt 5:10-12), because it is by our love that “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).


God doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezk 18:23, 33:11), nor is it His desire than any perish apart from Christ (2 Pet 3:9). Is that our desire too? Many will be called, but few will be chosen. Many will be called but fall away when persecution comes. Others will fall out of the way because of troubles in this life. Yet others will hear the Word, but Satan snatches it away before it takes root. That’s why it is vital to come to Christ today, while it’s still called today (2 Cor 6:2) and not too late (Heb 9:27; Rev 20:12-15). I remember reading where Jesus “drew near and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41). Do we? We are all commanded to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), but don’t forget to go next door. People are dying in their sins. We must warn them of the wrath to come (Rom 2). Who will go for Him? Will I? Will you? May we hear the same voice that Isaiah the Prophet heard when He wrote, “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Here is some related reading for you: Jesus Tells Us How to Know If We Are Truly His Disciples

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How to turn your sermon into clips

Share the truth

Previous post:

Next post: