It’s a message that literally shakes people up. It is sobering to own and demanding to respond to authentically. It’s a message that prompts an interesting and mostly surprising response that we hear over time to what is the most challenging truth before us. Throughout biblical history, people have responded with great resistance and sometimes even violence when confronted with this truth. Prophets in sharing this truth as a call from God were persecuted and even murdered. Jesus shared this truth and met the greatest resistance from, of all people, the utterly religious.
What truth and teaching could generate such a response? The truth that we are morally responsible for our own journey with God. Think about it, God has done everything within His power to make it reasonable for us to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. However, that doesn’t just occur automatically despite all that God has done in creation, the cross, and the resurrection of Christ. It only happens when we live in our responsibility to be disciples of Jesus on God’s terms. Others can neither be blamed or commended for what is ours to own.
Choosing to accept the moral responsibility that is ours to and with our Creator is one that is rarely reached without much angst. Paul spoke of it as being crucified with Christ that we may no longer live, but that Christ would live in us. There is a big difference from simply being religious or regular in a worship service compared to living in a responsibility that is ultimately ours. Our natural default is to project the light on someone or something else and say here or there is the problem and resist owning what is ultimately our responsibility. From the beginning scene where Adam puts the blame on Eve, humans have struggled most with this truth. The Pharisees had a huge problem with Jesus and they tried to reconcile themselves to this message. The same is true today in our culture as we have become accustomed to being consumers of others provisions to make our lives complete.
Dr. Kennon Callahan, who is a nationally recognized church consulting leader told me many years ago, “Steve, the people who want to be discipled are presenting themselves to be discipled.” It’s simple, but no less a struggle. But, God has promised us that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, Philippians 4:13. Have you presented yourself to be discipled and thus be trained and equipped to be a disciple of Jesus who is making disciples of Jesus? There is no time like the present to do so. God bless you in your journey with Christ!