In all religions the great spiritual masters had disciples who were assiduous in their teaching and preoccupied with preserving their words. We find the phenomenon also in the Bible (1R), though this configured in a particular way because the people lived in a regime of covenant and faith. Covenant is not founded on traditions of master and disciples but on itself. Certainly, the chosen people needed guides to orient them in the interpretation of faith in events. This necessity was, however, provisional and the prophets expected a future in which God Himself the hearts of people without the mediation of earthly masters (Jer 31:31-34) and all shall become disciples of God (Is 54:13).
CALLED TO SHARE THE FATE OF CHRIST
During His ministry, Jesus presented Himself as a rabbi, a teacher, and gathered around Himself disciples. The called, in order to be able to collaborate in the divine mission of the Messiah, should be ready to share the life and fate of Jesus, recognizing and accepting it as a personal form of life. This does not concern adhesion to a doctrine, but to follow Him, always tied to His person. The common life with His “Teacher” transforms the disciple into an adjutant of Jesus who prepares him for his task and makes him able to spread God’s call to Israel with divine power. In as much as the Twelve are representatives of the tribes of Israel, they accomplish another function: they are living expression of the messianic invitation directed by Jesus to all Israel. Followership for them represents in a certain way a profession. Therefore, they had to abandon what they were previously doing.
LEAVING EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW HIM
The synoptic gospels in narrating the historical meetings of Jesus with those He invites to follow Him, make a living appeal for Christians. Luke for example (Gosp) leaves anonymous those concerned and does not report their response. The intention of the evangelist and of tradition is that men should feel called, give a response and take a decision. This way, Luke, connecting the call of disciples in OT with clear literary references, says that Jesus “fulfils” the Scriptures (He is the Messiah), on the hand he presents the meeting with Jesus as “prophecy” which expects fulfillment in Christians.
They are disciples of the risen Christ and meet Him in the Word, the Sacraments and the Neighbour.
Every Christian should follow Jesus in detachment from material goods to be free and disposed, in contempt of all that is evil and finally in rejection of every attachment to the past (Phil 3:12-14).
TO BELIEVE IN HIM AND TO COMPLY WITH HIM
For John what defines the disciple of Jesus is explicitly faith (Jn 1,41;2,1-11;6,6-7). Without faith even the earthly community of Jesus would rapidly come to an end. To walk with Jesus based only on human motives, leads fatally to the catastrophe of defection (Jn 6:66). This faith finds its verification in fraternal love, the distinctive characteristic of the disciples and the true “revealing” sign to the world (Jn 13:14ff). But the specific element in the relation between disciple and Christ, which makes it different from any other elation between master and disciple, is the absolute, unconditional and definitive adhesion to the person of Christ. No value, no law, no human relation no matter how close can be preferred to Him. He is the total significance of life. He does not demand the acceptance of an abstract doctrine but the choice of His person. It is possible to collect and emphasize the ideas of great thinkers without the minimum interest in the person of the authors. The Christian is one who chooses Christ and follows Him. In this fundamental decision for Jesus Christ is contained and fulfilled every other exigency of conscience and action of faith. The unconditional adhesion to person of Jesus, the absolute obedience to Him is a liberating act. Whoever follows Christ is truly a free man without masters. A man free from slavery to things, to power, to money, to sex, free above all from himself.
God bless you!