For the Strength of Youth
I Am a Disciple of Jesus Christ
January 2024

“I Am a Disciple of Jesus Christ,” For the Strength of Youth, Jan. 2024.

2024 Youth Theme

I Am a Disciple of Jesus Christ

You can follow the Savior and spread His word to others.

2024 Youth Theme logo

Have you ever wondered why, after healing people, Jesus told some of them to not tell anyone (see Mark 7:36)? One reason might have to do with the type of followers He needed. You might think that if people talked about their healings it would be a good way for Jesus to attract followers. However, Jesus did not just need followers. He needed disciples.

Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19). The Joseph Smith Translation of the verse reads, “I am he of whom it is written by the prophets; follow me” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:18 [in Matthew 4:19, footnote a]). The invitation was not to hang out with Him for a while. He wanted them to be His disciples forever.

He did not just want them to watch Him teach people, love people, and perform miracles. He wanted them to do the same. He wanted His work to become their work. Choosing Christ meant they would learn to serve as He served and think as He thought. They would practice living as He lived, and He would tutor them and give them the help they needed to become more like Him.

Jesus Christ

The Greek word for disciple is mathetes. It means more than follower or student. It is often translated as apprentice. In Christ’s day, disciples typically chose the master from whom they wanted to learn with an eye toward becoming masters themselves. Christ did not follow the typical practice. He turned it around and sought out His disciples instead. Today, Christ calls for us to come unto Him. He calls us to be His disciples and declare His word among His people so they might have everlasting life (see 3 Nephi 5:13).

One young woman from Haiti in the Caribbean showed her desire to be a disciple of Christ by inviting her friend who was not a member of the Church to come with her to an FSY conference. At first her friend’s father did not want to give his daughter permission to go. Church leaders explained about the positive experiences that awaited her and the wonderful young adult counselors who would be watching over her. The father gave permission for his daughter to attend, and after seeing the difference it made in her life, he also gave her permission to attend Church meetings and—six months later—be baptized.

One young man from Argentina in South America showed his desire to be a disciple of Christ by sharing some of his candy with a friend as they rode the bus to school. When he came to a coffee flavored piece, he explained that he had never developed a taste for that flavor since no one in his family drank coffee. That led to a conversation about the Church, which led to an invitation to come to meetings, which eventually led to his friend’s joining the Church and serving a mission in Chile.

Not everyone you speak to about the Church or invite to a Church activity will want to join. That’s OK. Not everyone Christ spoke with during His earthly ministry joined either. Still, as we choose to be disciples of Jesus Christ and declare His word, He will give us courage and divine help. We will learn how to become more like Him, and that’s what disciples do.