Equipping Your Reimagine Journey
A thought or three and some questions have come to mind for me after a messaging conversation I had with a mentor of mine concerning discipleship. I will do my utmost to keep this as simple as possible, mostly because I have a tendacy to make something simple, complicated, or more convoluted than neccessary.
"Follow Me", is a phrase Jesus uses to herald our hearts and minds to become His disciples.
Our initial step to follow was a quick jumpstart beginning - for some of us.
For others - accepting the call was a carefully reasoned step.
We all made a choice to take a step from our usual and accept the call of Jesus to follow Him.
We are summoned by Him with two words, number one, follow.
My western formed thought process tells me this means we are not to lead, or walk abreast, but, simply to stay behind, take up the rear. Instead, this term used goes beyond that and takes us to a point of fellowship. Jesus was understood by His immediate audience to be making a call to discipleship and not just to go with Him from one place to another for the sake of being a company of numbers. A relationship is more akin to this word than a simple call to "walk this way" (no Aerosmith pun intended or Eye-gor from Young Frankenstein).
These men knew very well what this rabbi was considering before they accepted His call. They knew what was at stake for them if they accepted His invitation. The needed to stop all that was in their lives, namely their livelihood and possibly their current religious understanding as well. The talmidim of that time made a commitment to the rabbi, to give up their lives to become like the rabbi. A relationship like this was usually presented to a young man after careful scrutiny of that young man by the rabbi. These men Jesus called, were most likely not a talmidim when they were younger and found a rabbi who wanted them to become one, later in their life.
The second word Jesus uses is, me.
Since the call from Jesus seems to be a discipling relationship, He presents the one called with who they are to follow. It is certain from the Gospel accounts all of these men had one way or another taken notice of this rabbi. Whether it was from direct contact or second hand accounts, the person called knew who Jesus was and what He was teaching, and the things He did and was doing.
Were His actions and teachings different then what was prevelant of the religious then? Yes.
It is these things that made one take notice of Him.
His actions and His words.
Jesus regularly challenged the religious leaders and their conduct, and tells all listening to do as they say (words), and not as they do (actions). He tells these leaders their "traditions nullify the power of God". They are called "whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bodies". Their cups are filthy on the inside and the outside is purposely cleaned. We find out later in the Gospels these disciples "who turned the world upside down" were/are a part of something that was not of the normal religious process.
With all these things in mind, Jesus' call to follow Him is sure to take one from the comfortable to most un-comfortable. To be a part of a community that goes against all that was/is well known, allowed and for some, followed. The call is and needs to be understood before accepted. It truly is not something to be hastened too.
Once the call is accepted, following becomes, shall become, should become, normal, while the rest of the world is noticed as upside down.
Jesus tells us to take our eyes off all that has been a part of our make-up to that point and begin to focus on Him, alone. Jesus wants to be the example.
The call not only is the invitation, the call is also the answer to the "now what" question, after acceptance.
Very nice post! One that many western leaders would be uncomfortable with - but one so true. Even Christ, who claims the only spot of leadership, calls Himself a shepherd of His flock and encourages us to be the same. That's where the "leadership" question becomes so fascinating (to me anyway!).
The New Testament Matthew 23:9 says 9“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted"
Christ makes it very clear that He is the leader, the one we turn to, yet among "King" He also refers to Himself as "Shepherd." He appoints Peter to "shepherd My sheep," - which is also interesting because unlike America, in the Middle-east, shepherds FOLLOW their sheep so they notice if one falls behind, or if one strays. They do "lead" at times - when they must change paths, or have a specific purpose or reason to do so, but the role of shepherd, the role Peter is given, is one primarily of care and service, not one we associate with western leaders who simply direct their followers. It's a distinct difference and I love the way Christ uses something the people know well - sheepherding - to explain what he expects.
Hi Becky and thank you.
As I was reading your post, and got to the point of you mentioning Peter being called to "tend my sheep", or as you rightly put it, "shepherd"... it reminded me of how much I enjoy that passage and how much we might glean from it.
I've always liked the progression the Lord emphasised when He called Peter out in those three phrases...
The first call He mentions is "Feed my lambs", I have often wondered if this is telling us to give "the pure milk of the word" to new Christians, because they were not ready for the meatier portions because of lack of understanding.
The second call, "Tend my sheep", as we both know is most likely the call to "shepherding".
The third call, "Feed my sheep", thus signifying the lambs coming to maturity in the Word and now being able to discern the weightier matters found in Scripture.
All in all, this seems like a measured call to Discipling.