Long before Jesus came to earth Jewish Rabbis made disciples. Discipleship is a method of teaching that dates back thousands of years. In order to be a Jewish teacher of the law a disciple, which also means student or pupil, would follow a Rabbi or Jewish teacher around for years and study his every move. A disciple would learn to pray as his Rabbi prayed, teach as his Rabbi taught, and study the scriptures as his Rabbi studied the scriptures. And eventually, one day he would become a Rabbi and would do the same for others.
As followers of Jesus we are instructed by Jesus himself to make disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-20 The last few words of this scripture makes it clear. This is a command for those of us who follow Jesus.
During our children’s younger years we don’t often get to travel the world, the country, or even our city much, but we still have very young pupils that are willing to hang on to our every word and mimic exactly what we do. And even though our children aren’t able to comprehend the vast mysteries of scripture it is absolutely imperative that we disciple them in their youngest of years.
Our small children soak up life like a sponge. I am blown away at what my two year old picks up and knows about the bible. I told my husband the other day that he probably knows more of the bible than many adults. And my husband and I deserve no special credit for that fact, we are simply reading him a children’s bible on a nightly basis, taking every opportunity to tell him about who Jesus is, and praying with him before every meal and before bedtime. We are also taking responsibility with our own relationships with the Lord so that he will guide our steps and our children will see that loving Jesus is a lifestyle and not a Sunday activity.
As parents we won’t ever be able to do everything perfectly. After all we are sinful, fallen, and human. But, as followers of Christ we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit of God live in and through us if we allow Him to direct our steps. Take advantage of every teaching moment with your little one. They are never too young to begin reading scripture, and you can have them repeat it after you as soon as they can speak. And no matter where you are in your walk with God you can teach your child what you are learning about Him. And once they are old enough to ask questions don’t feel like you have to know all the answers look it up with them and find out together. Saying “I don’t know” is not a bad thing. As you study who God is together it will grow you and them at the same time.