‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

(Matthew 28: vv.19f.)

For some, a university education is not the wisest choice. Creativity and originality do not always thrive in lecture halls and seminar rooms. It is encouraging, therefore, to hear a nationwide call to shore up our remaining technical colleges, and also to witness a resurgence of apprenticeships, through which young (and sometimes older) people can learn skills in the company of master craftsmen and women.

For Christians, discipleship is rather like an apprenticeship. It is a transition from novice to artisan, or perhaps journeyman, in which we develop and mature with the support of our Apprentice-Master, Jesus Christ. The very first step in this relationship is a willingness to admit our need and learn from our mistakes. Christians call this repentance: a realization of humanity’s inability to solve its own problems, and an acknowledgement that those who claim to offer an easy path to health and success are mere sellers of snake-oil.

When a person repents, she turns towards the cross of Jesus Christ, where lasting forgiveness was achieved at great cost to God. From that moment, a long apprenticeship begins, based not solely upon the attainment of knowledge, but upon a growing relationship with the Master. Like all things worthwhile, the process is far from easy, but the Christian apprentice can be sure of one thing: the daily presence of the Master, who has promised to remain with us as we continue to serve Him.

Rev Cliff Jackson

Okehampton Baptist Church