The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) had a simple goal: to make disciples and to teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded. In other words, discipleship had purpose to it. Paul too had purpose in his discipling. “We proclaim him (Jesus), admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect (mature) in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28). He was looking for both quantity (everyone) and quality (perfect/mature). Discipleship never existed as ‘an end in its own right’; it had purpose to it.
“A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) Here is the first purpose of discipleship: to make us more like Jesus; more like him in behavior and more like him in character and attitudes. This does not happen overnight; we need to grow into it.