Apprentices of Jesus



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

John 5:19

“Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’” 


The year was 1488, and a man named Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter in Italy. A young, thirteen-year-old boy became his apprentice, a boy who learned the art of fresco painting as part of his studies. Ghirlandaio had trained many apprentices, and all learned in a similar way—by watching and listening closely to him, paying attention to his direction and guidance, copying masterpieces to learn colors and strokes, and learning the ways of the trade. 

Through focused observation and disciplined practice, they eventually learned their trade. Domenico’s young thirteen-year-old apprentice, Michelangelo, certainly learned his trade well. He went on to paint the great frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Then, with his further studies in the arts, he completed the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral, carved his famous Pietà and David statues from marble, and gave his elder, the great Leonardo da Vinci, a run for his money.

It all began with a good apprenticeship.

Jesus did what he saw the Father doing, and in so doing embodied the love the Creator has for humankind. Growing in union with Jesus, we are apprenticed to his way, and the ways of the Father. 

As Christians, we believe that Jesus took apprenticeship one giant step further than any master before or since. Jesus taught us his ways as our true Master, modeling them and inviting us, through practice, to learn how to love people in his name. Then, and here is the amazing part, he also made his home in us—leading our apprenticeship by his Spirit within! Now that’s how to learn a master’s ways.

In my ministry training in the Vineyard stream of churches, we were taught to ask one question with great frequency: “What is the Father doing?” Asking that question still remains part of my regular practice when I am asked to pray for someone or bring a word of encouragement.

Asking this question is intended to help us discern God’s direction, to hear God’s voice, about how the Father might be wanting to love that person in that particular moment. I know dozens of stories of moments when friends naturally wanted to pray one way for a person, but after asking the question, went another direction with their prayers. God did something powerful as a result, and they learned and grew from the experience. With practice, we can become better and better at discerning what the Father is doing. 

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” Jesus said in John 14:9b. We learn the Father’s ways by watching Jesus, and listening to his voice. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). 

Being in union with Jesus as he lives within us and speaks by the Holy Spirit, we can learn to hear God’s voice through constant practice and obedience.

Apprentices of Jesus learn from him by focused observation and disciplined practice. We learn by becoming attentive to his teaching in the Gospels and through the Scriptures, watching and learning from others who are practicing his way as well.

Doing what we see and sense the Father doing, we become like Jesus. Discipleship is a lifelong process of entering into an apprenticeship with Jesus until we become adept at doing what he does—thinking like he thinks, feeling like he feels, and acting like he acts. His presence within us makes this possible.

Today, you are invited to become an apprentice of Jesus. 


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. I want to be your apprentice, guided and instructed by your Spirit within me. Teach me to ask what you are doing in every situation, and guide me as I grow in hearing and responding to your voice. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


Have you ever had a situation where you believe God spoke to you to do something different than your natural impulse? How did God speak to you, and what happened?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

One Response

  1. Dan Wilt: You ask – “What is the Father doing?” as a preface to prayer.

    I offer “The Saints in Light” sermonette by Octavius Winslow as one answer (What is the Father doing?), for you and yours enjoyment from the vineyard stream of saintly preachers gone before.

    “The Saints in Light”

     “Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:12Our first remark refers to Heaven as an “inheritance;” under this figure it is here presented to the eye. Nor is this the only passage in which the same similitude occurs. In the first of Ephesians, and the eleventh verse, we read, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will. “In the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the fifteenth verse, “And for this cause He is the Mediator of the New Covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressors which were under the first testimony, they which are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”In the First Epistle of Peter, the first chapter, and the fourth verse, we have a striking unfolding of our inheritance: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last day.”And if you will turn to the first chapter of Ephesians, it will be observed that we have a pledge of this inheritance: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14And if it be inquired what the saints of God do thus inherit, you will find the answer in the twenty-first chapter of the Revelation by John, and the seventh verse: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.”How vast, how illimitable, then, is the inheritance of the saints! Inheriting “all things.” It is a beautiful idea of Heaven; it is a lovely picture, on which the eye of faith delights to dwell. The earthly heir looks at his inheritance, surveys it, walks through it, revels amidst its beauties, and anticipates its full possession. The heir of glory has his inheritance too. It is Heaven; he looks to it, he longs for it, and soon the Savior will come in personal glory, and put him in full possession of the purchased inheritance! But observe whose this inheritance is. It is the “inheritance of the saints.” And who are “the saints?” Ask the world, and it will answer, “They are the fanatics, the enthusiasts, the deluded of society.” Ask others, and they reply, “The baptized—all who have been baptized are the saints.” And ask many who profess not to be of the world, and who laugh to scorn the dogmas of the Papacy, and the semi-Popish doctrines of the Tractarian, and even they are at a loss for a better answer. But who are “the saints,” beloved? They are the Lord’s people—the Lord’s holy ones, of every name and from every fold. They form the whole election of grace: the chosen, ransomed, called people of God, be their outward name among men what it may—whether they belong to your section of the church or to mine—all who are sanctified by God the Father, all who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, all who are renewed by the Holy Spirit, all who have “the white stone,” and “the new name” in that white stone, all who are living holy, godly lives, all belong to the family of the “saints. “Is it yet asked who are the “saints?” They are God’s sanctified ones, in whom dwells the Holy Spirit, and by whose grace the Lord is day by day, step by step, carrying on that blessed kingdom of grace in their hearts, which will soon fit them for the full possession of eternal glory! You may think it, my reader, a light matter, to be a “saint”—an epithet of scorn by an ungodly world; but oh! let me tell you the day will come when you would gladly lick the very dust of the saints’ feet; gladly take hold of the skirts of their garments, as they ascend up into everlasting glory. But as you loathed them and scorned them, and persecuted them, and separated yourselves from them when upon earth—so, when they enter the abodes of glory, you will be forever separated from them, banished into everlasting woe, to mingle and to herd throughout eternity with those with whose unrenewed natures, carnal minds, and earthly pursuits, you now sympathize and assimilate. Awful thought! But observe, they are “the saints in light.” Shall we refer this to their character? They are indeed “the children of the light and of the day.” They have “passed from death unto life,” and “from darkness unto marvelous light.” The light of the Spirit is in them—the light of truth is in them—the light of holiness is in them. They, and they alone, possess real light; all others are in darkness—the darkness of death. With all a man’s deep, erudite, beautiful philosophy, his pure ethics, his splendid attainments in human science—yet apart from the indwelling of the Spirit of grace, the inbeing of Jesus, “the Sun of Righteousness”—he is the “child of the night and of darkness.” But the “child of the day” is the true believer in Jesus, who has been “translated out of darkness into His marvelous light,” by the mere act of His sovereign mercy. What a beautiful image of the true Christian is light! The child of the light!” The saints in light!” Walking in the light of a Father’s reconciled face;
    walking in the light that beams from the cross of Jesus;
    walking in the light of an indwelling, teaching, sanctifying Spirit;
    walking in that bright, luminous path, which “shines more and more unto the perfect day.” Or shall we refer this description of the glorified saints to their present place of abode? Emphatically and truly, they are “the saints in light.” They are in Heaven, the abode of Him who is “Light,” essential light, in whom is “no darkness at all”, “dwelling in light which no man has seen, or can see. “They are in the abodes of perfect purity, of which light is the splendid symbol. They are in the regions of perfect knowledge, of which light is the magnificent metaphor. They are in Heaven, the place of perfect light, in which is no darkness at all. How beautiful is this description of Heaven placed before us in the Holy Word! Thus, in the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, and nineteenth verse—oh! what words are these! I knew them to cheer the spirit and irradiate the dying bed of my bosom friend: “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you. But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, And the days of your mourning shall be ended.” Isaiah 60:19-20He read the words, received the consolation, closed his eyes, and fled to this region of light. “The inheritance of the saints in light!” You will find the same beautiful figure, setting forth Heaven, in the twenty-second chapter of Revelation, the fifth verse: “And there shall be no night there; and they shall need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.” And if we refer to the twenty-first chapter, and the twenty-third verse, we read: “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. “The glorified saints are “the saints in light!”
    No more veilings of the Father’s countenance;
    no more “walking in darkness, having no light”;
    no more mourning over divine desertions, the suspensions of the Father’s experienced love;
    no more tears to dim the eye;
    no more clouds of unbelief to darken the mind;
    no more mental despondency to enshroud the spirit. The saints leave the gloom, and the mist, and the fog, and the darkness of ignorance, error, and pollution, behind them—and they flee to the regions of light, to “the inheritance of the saints,” of which “the Lamb is the light thereof. “But you will observe, that these glorified saints are said to be “partakers of the inheritance.” “Who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” There is something very emphatic in the word, “partakers.” We are “partakers” of it now, in Christ our Head. In consequence of our union with Christ, the exalted Head of the Church, we are at present “partakers” of this inheritance. We have the first dawnings of it in our soul: the foretaste and the foretaste—and, what is best of all, the indwelling of the Spirit, who is the pledge of its possession. Beloved, we warn you against the doctrine held by some, whom yet I love, which teaches, that after passing through the great changes which we have just specified, and while standing upon the very borders of Heaven, the believer may miss the goal and never enter “the inheritance of the saints in light.” He may be a partaker of the renewing, sanctifying grace of the Spirit, and stand accepted in the righteousness of Christ—and yet after all, may fall away and be lost forever! We speak of this—not to wound the feelings of those who hold it—but to expose a doctrine so contrary to God’s Word. We speak of it to the glory of God and of His truth, which teaches us that we have the pledge of that inheritance in the indwelling of the Spirit; and if we have the “pledge ” of the inheritance in the possession of the Spirit, we must, and shall assuredly have the inheritance itself. “Partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”:
     partakers with all the saints of God;
     partakers with the whole family of the elect;
     partakers with all the children of adoption;
     partakers with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with David, with Solomon, and with all who have gone before us, with all who have entered Heaven a little in advance;
     and partakers with all the “ransomed of the Lord, who shall yet come to Zion with everlasting songs upon their head, obtaining joy and gladness, their sorrow and their sighing fleeing away!” Oh, who would not be a “partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light!”

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