Discipleship carries a cost. We are challenged in how we live and serve others, and we may even face attack on account of our faith.
Key Text: Matthew 4:18-22
Describe a time when you felt you suffered because of your faith, perhaps due to personal challenges or due to attack from others (inside or outside of the church). How did the experience change you?
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Nadine Daniel works with asylum seekers through Hope+, a programme started at Liverpool Cathedral. She describes the impact of meeting Iranian Christians.
In 2008, in Liverpool, the local Iranian congregation had to vacate the garage they’d been using as a meeting place.
The Dean of Liverpool at the time, Justin Welby, invited them to use the space in the cathedral – which, after all, has plenty of space being the biggest Anglican cathedral in the world.
So the Iranians came, about 30 of them, many of whom were asylum seekers, having fled the persecution of Christians by extremists in Iran.
I learned so much about the bravery of the Iranian Christians.
Imagine what can happen. An Iranian stands up in church to give his testimony, the local bishop baptises or confirms him, it’s all caught on
video, and that video gets back to Iran. Then the UK government says:
‘Your asylum claim has failed because we don’t believe you’re a Christian.’
And that Christian is then deported back to the country where he had
In standing up and saying ‘I believe and accept the gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ’, these Iranian Christians are effectively passing a death sentence on themselves. Yet they do it willingly and they do it gladly.
It is most humbling and a privilege to witness their depth of faith. In fact, one Iranian said to me: ‘The only trouble with being a Christian in the UK is that you’ve taken a way of life and replaced it with a weekly meeting.’
Holy God, whose Son Jesus called his disciples to follow him,
and warned them that discipleship would be costly,
help us to live lives of more authentic discipleship
as we seek to follow the example he set for us.
In the light of this study, what learning might you adopt to help you grow
in your discipleship?