Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Paul was the disciple and discipler par excellence. While his and our perfect example is the Messiah, and we are commanded to "walk as He walked" (1 John 2:6) Christ was sinless and we are not.
Because Paul had a sinful nature just as we do, and for several other important reasons, Paul understood the outworkings of the high calling as no one else did. Therefore Paul could make this astounding declaration "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The primary aspect of being a disciple is in inward preparation which will never end.
The secondary aspect of being a disciple is to be a discipler; it is a call to invest our lives in only a few others.
Jesus had the twelve but interestingly, He invested His life more in three out of the twelve. The beneficial outcome was clearly evident to the Church and Paul who wrote: "James and Peter and John, who were reputed to be pillars" Galatians 2:9.
Paul focused on Timothy, Barnabas, Silvanus, and a few others because of his travels; Sosthenes and Titus among others. His disciples were encouraged to do the same (2 Timothy 2:2).
So we would not think that walking with Christ gave an advantage to James and Peter and John that we could never have, thus giving them an advantage over us, God chose Paul the rebel with the gospels as a background, to show us that the same result could be possible for us today. The Holy Spirit gave us a clear view of the life, the thoughts, and the ways of Paul and thus provide us with a pattern to live by. There is much to say about all of this of course.
"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Beginning with us individually first, and as the second coming is approaching, God is calling us back to basics as He restore the Church He had after the resurrection; both in its theology (Jude 3) and in its function. "And that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time" Acts 3:20-21.