Our Position Before Jesus
Jesus said, "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master" (Matthew 10:24-25a). One of the greatest difficulties in teaching lost souls today is the failure to understand this great principle taught by our Lord. There is not only a lack of understanding on the part of those being taught, but, sadly, too often as well on the part of those doing the teaching.
Disciple and Teacher — A disciple is one who learns with the view of following the instruction of the teacher. Jesus had just instructed the twelve that their teaching would come from the Holy Spirit (verse 20). Today, our instruction comes from a reading of the word of God which they revealed to us (Ephesians 3:3-4). If a disciple is not above the teacher, it is not up to us to decide what we want to do religiously. Think about it! There are so many different and opposing doctrines. If our Lord accepts them all allowing us to pick the one or ones we want to follow, then we are above the teacher. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32).
Servant and Master — A servant is one who is in bondage to another. In the days of the Roman Empire, slavery was commonly practiced. Slaves were not considered people but property. They had no civil rights, no expression of will, and could be executed upon the whim of the owner. Certainly a servant was not above his master. That being so, it is not up to us to decide what we want to do in service to our Lord. Matters such as when and where we partake of the Lord’s supper, how we make music in praise to God, and the manner in which funds are to be raised to carry on His work, are not determined by our ingenuity and schemes, nor by our likes and dislikes, preferences, or feelings. If we serve in the way we desire, then we are above the master. Jesus said, "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do’" (Luke 17:10).
Like Him Is Enough — Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that when they taught His word and served His wishes that they would receive the same kind of treatment He received. Early disciples counted that an honor (Acts 5:41). It is equally true today. Most people can tolerate anything except the truth. Those who teach it are labeled, ridiculed, lied about, and excluded in one way or another. However, that is not particularly surprising because it is certainly true that the disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant above his master.