In the 10th chapter of Matthew Jesus asks his apostles to ‘go’ and do the things they saw Him doing. As their rabbi Jesus was helping his peeps take another step in the discipleship process. It was preparation for the rest of their life. Jesus wanted them to be witnesses to the nearness of the kingdom of God. And He warned them of opposition, the possibility of arrest, possible family alienation, persecution, and the very real threat of losing their life.
And you have to wonder. Why would anyone do it? Why would anyone knowingly put themselves on the line like the apostles were being asked to do? Wouldn’t the prospect of almost certain discomfort keep them from following through on any hard assignment and once out of sight of Jesus just head to the nearest Starbucks or Panera to surf the web? Why would anyone walk in the footsteps of Jesus?
Why indeed? It was probably a combination of things. Maybe some peer pressure. Obedience was probably a factor. Maybe there was a sense of obligation. Perhaps the promise of adventure. Beyone that there is every evidence that they were catching a vision of what could be and were certainly starting to trust their Master. After all He told them that if they traveled the discipleship road, taking up their cross, that they would find their life. That’s no small thing. Whatever the motivation they did it. And there were others …men and women from up and down the social ladder. And when people actually start walking after Jesus …well, a waiting world began to notice.
For sure, as we walk with God we will need to trust Him in the midst of what could be some rather formidable discomfort. And that’s not easy. Because if truth be known all too often we value our comfort more than we desire doing God’s will. God’s position, however, is that His purposes are more important than our comfort.
The more I read Scripture the more I sense the call to be really good at two things. One is simply to ‘be’ with Jesus. To watch. To observe. To hang round. To learn from Him. To talk with Him. Secondly, I know that if I hang out with Jesus long enough He’s going to ask me to ‘do’ something. To exercise my faith as I sensed the power of the living God welling up inside of me.
I can do these two things. I know I can. And yet sometimes I choose not to it. I don’t want to take the time nor exert the energy necessary. I don’t want to step out of my comfort zone. And then I lose out. You see, when those early followers of Jesus stepped on the path of discipleship some interesting things began to happen. There were healings and conversions coupled with opposition and persecution. My guess, though, is that in the midst of the hills and valleys they did indeed discover their life. Not a bad thing to find is it?