William Nicholson, 1862
"Do you also want to become His disciples?" John 9:27
The miracles performed by Christ proved his divinity; they were designed to confirm the truth of his Messiahship, as well as to benefit those who became the subjects of his miraculous power.
We have the same evidence now. From the continuance of Christianity after all opposition — and the miracles of grace constantly being performed — there is sufficient evidence to induce to Christian discipleship.
This question was proposed to the Pharisees, by the man whose eyes Christ had opened they wanted the miracle not to be true.
The healed man upbraids them for their willful and unreasonable opposition to the evidence of this miracle. He would not gratify them with a repetition of the story; verse 27.
The text, on the part of the man, seems to imply:
(1.) Conviction. He who has opened my eyes, must be God.
(2.) Decision. As he has declared himself to be God in my case — I will be his disciple.
(3.) Benevolence. "Do you also want to become His disciples?"
I. What Is Implied in Being a Disciple of Christ?
The word disciple means one who learns from a master, a scholar, a servant, a follower, a believer, a Christian. Acts 6:1; 9:1. To be a disciple then, involved many sacrifices — it is different now.
1. This character is quite different to that of the unregenerate. Their master is Satan — their service is sin — they are in darkness, ignorance, condemnation. "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." John 3:19. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Satan keeps them in blindness, and while in his captivity, they do but fill up the measure of their iniquity.
2. To be a disciple of Christ, is to be called by Christ into his school, even as the disciples were called. He calls by his Word — his Spirit — his Providence — his people, and conscience.
3. Discipleship implies compliance with that call — even as the disciples left all, and followed Christ. He who thus responds, believes in Christ — publicly professes his name — and enters his church.
4. Discipleship implies a change of heart and of conduct. Christ and his disciples must possess congeniality. Regeneration effects this.
5. Discipleship implies that one highly esteem and love the Master, even Christ. He is a wise teacher, infinitely benevolent, altogether lovely — tender and sympathetic with all his disciples, knows their frame, is touched with a feeling of their infirmities. For his disciples he shed his blood, and purchased for them Heaven and its ineffable glory. Therefore they love him.
6. Discipleship implies consecration of every talent to promote his glory. Disciples preached, spread his cause, and defended it. They suffered, sacrificed and died for their Master.
7. Discipleship implies that they make progress in learning. They are in the school of Christ — doctrinal, practical, experimental school — the school of affliction, etc. What progress have you made?
Lastly. This state of discipleship is preparatory to a higher state — Heaven . . .
where the mind will be expanded,
where mysteries will be explained,
in the immediate presence of the Great Master;
and see him face to face.
He will show the wonders of his love, and of eternity.
II. The Inquiry, "Do you also want to become His disciples?"
1. From the nature of the question itself.
(1.) You have the power to examine and investigate truth — you have evidence to convince you of the importance of Christian discipleship — you have the aid of the Holy Spirit.
(2.) The inquiry is personal. "Do you also want to become His disciples?" "You must be born again." It is a matter that deeply affects you.
(3.) The benevolence of the inquiry. I see and feel the importance and value of this discipleship. O come into this school — this delightful association, etc. I do not want to go to Heaven alone. "Do you also want to become His disciples?"
2. From motives intimately connected with the subject.
(1.) To be a disciple of Christ is honorable. The most eminent of men have been disciples. Thousands now in glory were once in the school of Christ.
(2.) It is pleasant. Learning is pleasant. Fellowship with God is pleasant.
(3.) It is useful, and this is a feast.
(4.) It will yield satisfaction in death, and, through grace, be crowned with glory, as the prize of the high calling.
1. Be thankful that you may become a disciple.
2. What you do, do quickly! Life is short — death is at hand.
3. Maintain the character of a disciple, sit at the feet of the Master, and learn of Him.