The Bible teaches us,
"Whoever says he abides in him [Jesus] ought to walk in the same way in which He walked" (1 John 2:6)and
"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1)Sixteenth-century pastor John Calvin referred to Jesus as the "Grand Model" for all Christians to follow and learn from. Jesus modeled so much for us during his earthly ministry. For example, He modeled how to pray, how to handle temptation, how to speak the truth in love, how to stand against evil, and how to really train and disciple others.
Christian parents should look at Jesus' life as the perfect example of how parents should train, teach and love their own little disciples – their children. It is interesting to note that Jesus, on occasion, publicly called His disciples "children" (Mark 10:24). Eighteenth-century Bible commentator John Gill noted "it was common with the Jews to call [their] disciples … 'children.'" When reading the gospels we get an intimate view of how Jesus discipled and loved His own "children."
Teaching – Jesus is the supreme "good Teacher" (Luke 18:18).
- He taught His disciples daily (Luke 19:47);
- He traveled all over the region with His disciples as they watched Him teach others (Luke 23:5);
- other religious leaders recognized that Jesus was a teacher sent by God (John 3:2);
- Jesus' apostles acknowledged that His teachings were the words of eternal life (John 6:68);
- Jesus acknowledged He was their Lord and Teacher (John 13:14);
- and even immediately after Jesus' physical resurrection, some of His followers continued to call him Teacher (John 20:16).
We see in Jesus' method of discipling three primary things: teaching, mentoring, and investment of time.
Mentoring – Jesus' teaching style was far more than just talk and passing on "head knowledge"; He lived the life for them to see and follow. His disciples saw Jesus often go away to pray on His own, which prompted them to ask how they, too, should pray (Luke 11:1). His apostles saw Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and preach the gospel. Later, after years of pouring His life into them, Jesus then confidently sent them on the "Great Commission" (Matthew 28:16-20).
Time Investment – The disciples did not take a class with Jesus, nor did they spend a mere semester under Jesus' training; rather, they spent about three and a half years with Jesus, with no spring or summer breaks, no Christmas vacations. This was a 24-hour/365-day-a-year "course" taught by the greatest Teacher this world has ever known. Jesus knew that you had to devote quality time with people to really make a powerful impact on their lives. Dr. John MacArthur points out in his book "Twelve Ordinary Men," "[The disciples] could listen to His [Jesus'] teaching, ask Him questions, watch how He dealt with people, and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him in every kind of setting. … He graciously encouraged them, lovingly corrected them, and patiently instructed them. That is how the best learning always occurs. It isn't just information passed on; it's one life invested in another."