In the life of Jesus’ disciples, we can see three growth phases. The first phase is that the disciples followed Jesus, they listened to His words and watched what He did. In the second phase we see that Jesus and His disciples start working together. Having followed Jesus, His followers were then taught by Jesus how they could also become a student or disciple, and not merely a follower. In the second phase the follower becomes a student or disciple. A disciple is someone who wants to live just like the person they are following. The disciple does not just follow but also applies what they hear from Jesus. After a period of training Jesus gives authority to the disciples to do the same things He does. He declared the Kingdom of God, healed the sick, set people free from demons and forgave sins. Jesus then sends His disciples out to different cities to do likewise. After a while they return and share about all their experiences.
The third phase began unexpectedly for the disciples. Jesus is arrested, convicted and eventually crucified. The disciples had heard Jesus talk of this but did not really understand what He meant.
All the disciples were in shock because their leader was dead. Just as unexpectedly, Jesus returned from the dead. He first appeared to a few women and then to His twelve disciples. Eventually around 500 people saw Him alive. Jesus’ commission was very clear:
“Preach what I have taught you about the Kingdom first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, until the ends of the earth. I will be with you!” Having waited for and received the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, they then left to reach the people with the good news about the Kingdom. This is the third phase: serve. Everywhere they went they brought the Kingdom, just as in the days of Jesus.
Part three was the last part in the phase entitled “Follow.” In that phase you learned what the Kingdom of God is, who the God of the Kingdom is and how you can enter it.
In the next phase it is time to learn about how God sees you in the Kingdom. In part 4 you learn about who you are to God and what your inheritance is. Part 5 will help you to walk in the Kingdom of God and alongside your fellow man. Part 6 deals with a few very important principles within the Kingdom of God. These are values which God has given for us to live in peace with each other and to be able to live in the Kingdom.