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“Come, follow me” – The challenge of being a disciple of Jesus

By Paul Wetzig, Project Officer – Discipleship. 

Over the last couple of months there have been a number of events across the Synod inviting us to consider what discipleship means and how we respond to Jesus commission first given to the original disciples in Matthew 28:16-20 to “go and make disciples”.

Reflecting on these events, some consistent ideas have emerged for me.

Central to all of these conversations has been Jesus life, death and resurrection. Jesus invitation to those original disciples was to know, follow and imitate him. Jesus asked them to know his life and practice and make it their life and practice.

Comprehend the meaning and implications of my death and resurrection to new life and experience your own death and resurrection into a new life.

This is what those original disciples chose to do. They chose to leave behind what they knew and how they had lived, to encounter death in order to embrace this new life of Jesus.

In making this choice, they began to create a community of people who lived in a different way, who treated others with forgiveness, grace, love, hospitality and generosity. Who were willing to live and die for the creation of God’s new world. This community radically challenged the way things were, with a vision of how they might be, if heaven was made real on earth.

To empower them to do this, they gathered to worship, pray and share in the sacraments, not because they felt obligated or because their gathering was the most important thing, but because these were the corporate practices that reminded and empowered them to join in God’s transformative work underway in the world.

As others, their friends, neighbours and trading partners, encountered this community of Jesus followers they must have been intrigued and drawn through curiosity to discover why they lived so differently. The answer to this curiosity was always a story of how a life had been transformed by encountering Jesus and a choice made to live life Jesus’ way, as a disciple.

These are the underpinning principles of what it meant and looked like to be a disciple of Jesus.

It is these simple, yet revolutionary, principles embodied by people throughout the last 2000 years that have resulted in my encounter with this story of God’s redemption of all things through Jesus. It has been my experience of these Jesus followers, ones who lived Jesus’ way and shared how Jesus’ life had transformed their world that drew me, and continues to draw me, into my own encounter with Jesus.

And this in turn is the challenge that I am given.

The challenge to encounter Jesus and live a resurrected life, where my life and practice reflect his life and practice.

The challenge to join with a community of fellow followers of this way, to encourage and embolden each other to join with God in the transformation of the world.

The challenge to live in such a way that can’t help but spark curiosity and invite conversation reflecting that it is the life of Christ in me that is being seen.

Consistently through all of the events that have explored this topic over the last couple of months, these have been the challenges set out.

Jesus invitation remains the same, as it has for 2000 years.

“Come, follow me.”

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