“Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there.” John 3:22
This is a transition scripture that really doesn’t get that much attention because on the surface it doesn’t look like it holds much meaning. However, if we look a little deeper, it is actually a time when Jesus just “hung out” with His guys for a while. Recently I heard a message about the word that was translated “spent some time with”. It actually means to “rub off” on like you would when you spend a lot of time with certain people. You actually take on the same attitudes and even mannerisms. This is extremely important because Jesus was imparting Himself into His disciples. By spending time with Jesus, the disciples were becoming more like Him. For three years they were pretty much together all the time, which explains how they eventually became great teachers and started the New Testament church that is still living and active today.
My point in saying all this is that Jesus didn’t make converts, He made disciples and the way He did it was by investing time in them. Not just time, but actually His life. He still had other things going on and crowds of people around Him most of the time, but He selected a specific group that He kept close to Him all the time. They were His apprentices studying intently so they could take over His ministry when He was gone.
Building relationships with others is the key to bringing people closer to the LORD. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Those that you are giving the most attention to and spending the most time with keep you connected in a unique way. Even though you may not realize it, you are impacting those lives in some way. Jesus told us in His last words here to go and make disciples. He never said go and make converts. The way to make disciples is the way He did by purposefully spending time with others and “rubbing off” on them, helping them to develop the habits that will keep them close to their Savior.
Today I want to encourage you to, first of all, spend time hanging out with God in a special quiet time each day and let Him “rub off” on you. Secondly, invest in others. Spend your time and resources to make a conscious effort to make disciples. Start by working with one individual that needs your love and attention and then impart your life into them. Take them along with you where you go and make time to spend hanging out with them. Eventually, grow your sphere of influence and disciple others. Whether it’s one at a time or a whole group, the best way to be effective for kingdom progress is to bring people alongside you each day and let God “rub off” of you on to them.
Today’s scripture reading: John 3:20-24
20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized.
23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.
24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.