WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015
There’s cost to being a disciple – but not condemnation
Foxes have holes, but not Me and my followers, is how Jesus challenged a hesitant hearer who wanted to come on his own terms.
WHO is the real Jesus? As we explore the misconceptions of various kinds that crowd in to keep us at a distance from the real Jesus, it’s time we look at the distortions created by the very people responsible for removing them.
Preachers are charged with “correctly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) and to persist in the message whether it is convenient or not (2 Tim. 4:2). But do we preach the truth, or our retouched version of truth, introducing our own distortions?
One distortion is the Jesus who is easy-come, easy to know – the Saviour who dispenses saving grace for all. But this is not Jesus the Lord, whose call is to disciples, to those who will respond and follow and recognise there is cost in the call. Jesus encountered a number who said they would follow, but on their terms and in their time. “Foxes have holes… but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 7:18-22).
Another variation of this low level of belief makes Jesus into a reformer – with us, His followers, cast as social activists. “Faith without works may be dead” (James 2:26), but how easy it is for works without faith to take centre stage, and even become works of protest where the cause is the centre of worship.
Then there is the opposite emphasis – Jesus who is the Master, the Christ, whose call is a high one of obedience and self-sacrifice. Of such discipline is the kingdom of God established. This is a high bar and one which brings inevitable condemnation (you may remember that the Pharisee party of Jesus’ time had a similar message). The truth is that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) – we are loved.
The real Jesus brings kingdom change and kingdom justice through changed lives where the Holy Spirit LEADS radical followers to join God in His work. Being a Holy Spirit-led person is a lot preferable (and more fruitful) than being driven by the cause of the moment! Much better to know who you are and know you are loved, than to have to prove something.
CHECK IT OUT
You want to follow Jesus on your own terms – we all admit this in moments of honesty. So what are your particular terms?
How much faith do you have for God to provide for the costs of being called, to show the nature of your engagement and to be pleased with your obedience without demanding that you prove yourself to Him? Who do you talk and pray with on this road?