Tuesday, September 23

Following Jesus

Under Religious Views on my Facebook profile, I state "follower of Christ". What exactly does following Jesus entail? In reading the Gospels one finds a whole lot more detail and explanation than just going to church on Sunday, reading the Bible & praying, not cussing, smoking, drinking, or gambling.

One can land in just about any chapter of the Gospels and discover first hand what the twelve experienced with Jesus as they followed Him on a daily basis. It entails quite a different set of activities from what most modern disciples routinely experience.

In my quiet time these days I have been slowly going through Matthew's Gospel. Take a look at some of the things the disciples go through with Jesus in just a couple of pages (chapters 8 and 9) ...
  • going through a storm and nearly losing their lives
  • watching Jesus perform a miracle of calming the winds and sea
  • coming out of the storm only to face demon-possessed men (fringe/marginal people)
  • pigs running off a cliff and the locals traumatized
  • people begging you to leave their region (being unwelcome)
  • forgiving sins in Jesus Name (are we supposed to do this kind of thing?)
  • healing paralytics (those unable to walk on their own)
  • confronting religious opposition for doing what is good and right
  • identifying with sinners and outcasts of society (the non-church folks)
  • calling on sinners to leave what they are doing and follow Christ
  • going to a party, eating/drinking with non-followers of Christ
  • being given a lesson on mercy and what that means by seeing it first hand
  • being questioned about religious practices and traditions and answering
  • healing a sick woman
  • raising a dead child
  • healing the blind
  • driving out more demons
  • going from town to town teaching in synagogues
  • preaching Good News of the Kingdom
  • healing every disease and sickness
  • having compassion for the crowds
  • instructing disciples to pray for laborers
  • pointing out the abundant harvest to disciples
Does this sound like a typical follower of Christ today? Can we identify with the way Jesus lived and taught his own disciples and the kinds of things He exposed them to?

I am struck that these first followers of Christ spent so much time healing the sick and demon possessed. Yes, there is also the preaching, teaching element of discipleship, but a lot of time was spent healing and ministering to the sick and oppressed. How much of my time is spent in these kinds of activities? How much of the above list would characterize my own walk as a follower of Jesus? How about your own?

8 comments:

Deb Burton said...

Reading your ouline helps put things in better perspective. No wonder those disciples acted overwhelmed at times! But it does bring more clarity that we're to be doing, and not just speaking. I've been struggling some with that myself. How can I put feet to the ministry I've started? Obviously I need to probably be more on the front line than I am. Hiding behind my computer screen makes me bold. Lord, help me be as bold with your word with real people!

Bryan Riley said...

Good post, Guy. We need to know what we are praying when we say "Your Kingdom come...."

GuyMuse said...

Deb and Bryan,

Thanks for stopping by. Indeed being a follower of Christ entails a lot more than just being a "good Christian". Our faith needs to be action oriented and less about our words and beliefs.

Dave Quinn said...

That is a very interesting post Guy. Some of those things are present in my walk, but not all of them. It is a nice reality check of what we are doing and how it lines up with what Jesus and the first disciples did.

GuyMuse said...

Dave,

Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. My following Jesus falls short as well. May this be a wake up call to all of us who claim we are followers of Christ.

Camel Rider said...

Yeah but aren't some of these things against the BFM?

Camel Rider said...

Sorry, couldn't resist.

GuyMuse said...

camel rider,

Interesting observation. Yes, a lot of what is entailed in "following Jesus" goes against our current practices, traditions and policies. Maybe that's why in more than 2000 years we still haven't done what Jesus commanded us to do: go, make disciples. We are more tuned to the voice of our traditions than to the voice of Him who said "follow me".