Apprenticeship: Living With Jesus To Learn From Jesus How To Be Like Jesus

In some evangelism class somewhere, I was taught that the most important thing was to convince another person that she is a sinner and that by praying a short prayer (“after me”) the threat of eternal torment would be eliminated. In the same setting, I was taught that after a person accepted Christ, I was to tell him to do three things:

  1. Read the Bible
  2. Pray
  3. Go to church

Many of us were taught some version of the above, and the result is that we in America have a huge swath of professing Christians who are indistinguishable from non-Christians.

In a few ways we are worse. White evangelicals support torture, military intervention, programs that reduce services to the poor, and capital punishment at higher rates than the general public. “Bible believing” Christians have a higher rate of divorce than the general public.

We have (regrettably) separated justification from sanctification. Salvation involves both.

Justification is being set right with God.

Sanctification is following God, doing what God says to do.

What does it mean to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus?

How will I look when I am an apprentice to the Master?

From 9:51 through 19:48, Luke’s Gospel is unique from the others. (Not entirely – there are similarities and common themes in this passage that scholars call “the Journey to Jerusalem.”)

The primary theme of this section of Luke is discipleship, spiritual formation, how to be an apprentice of Christ, living with Jesus to learn from Jesus how to be like Jesus.

It is filled with passages we have tried hard to explain away. After all, these teachings are entirely impracticable, contrary to common sense street wisdom, and counterintuitive. And, they are what God demands.

  • Following Jesus means non-violence, non-retaliation, non-participation in war. (9:51-56)
  • Following Jesus may mean being homeless. (9:58)
  • Following Jesus may mean leaving family, cutting all ties with the past. (9:59-62)
  • Following Jesus means traveling light, owning next to nothing, trusting God for everything. (10:1-8)
  • Following Jesus means healing, blessing, encouraging and caring for the sick, the imprisoned, the despised, the rejected, the lowly, the marginalized the disenfranchised. (10:9-12)
  • Following Jesus includes the ability to celebrate. (10:17-20)
  • Following Jesus means you approach each day with open ears, open eyes, and open heart. 10:23-24)
  • Following Jesus means loving God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and loving your neighbor (whom Jesus redefined to include everyone, including enemies) as yourself. (10:27-37)
  • Following Jesus means giving up busyness and anxiety and fuss and worry and replacing those things with sitting at His feet. (10:38-42)
  • Following Jesus means forgiving. (11:1-4)
  • Following Jesus means being persistent in prayer. (11:5-13)
  • Following Jesus means assaulting the kingdom of evil, tearing down its walls and setting its captives free. (11:14-26)
  • Following Jesus means actually doing what Jesus said to do, living by the sermons on the mount and the plain, obeying the red letters. (11:27-28)
  • Following Jesus means lamentation and repentance for personal, national and universal sins. (11:29-32)
  • Following Jesus means being faithful to resist evil and embrace good, even unto death. (11:33-36)
  • Following Jesus means people and their needs are more important than religion and being right. (11:37-54)
  • Following Jesus means living in trust without fear. (12:1-7)
  • Following Jesus means pledging allegiance to Him and Him alone. (12:8-12)
  • Following Jesus means seeing the danger of wealth, which strangles maturity (8:14), produces anxiety (12:22-34), blinds us the needs of others (16:19-23), leads us away from God (12:13-21), and is more often than not a curse (6:20,24).
  • Following Jesus means living the Jubilee in which all debts are cancelled, and all things are shared equally. (12:13-34)
  • Following Jesus means being spiritually awake and diligent. (12:35-48)
  • Following Jesus means loss, suffering, sacrifice, rejection – embrace it with joy! (12:49-53)
  • Following Jesus means embracing the subversive Kingdom in which evil is conquered by good, death is overcome by dying, violence is met with love, and hatred is met with forgiveness (Chapter 13)
  • Following Jesus means taking the homeless and despised into your house (if you have a house). (14:7-24)
  • Following Jesus means loving God so much that other loves are almost like hatred, they are so inferior. (14:25-26)
  • Following Jesus means being willing to die. (14:27)
  • Following Jesus means living a cruciform life – nonviolent, non-militaristic, non-national, rejecting racism, misogyny, homophobia, pride, and nationalism; caring for the environment, the immigrant, the poor, the addicted, the incarcerated. (14:27)
  • Following Jesus means renouncing everything but Jesus. (14:33)
  • Following Jesus means seeking the lonely, the lost, the hurting, then finding, loving and helping them. (Chapter 15)
  • Following Jesus means not loving money or stuff. (16:14-17)
  • Following Jesus means being faithful to your spouse (16:18)
  • Following Jesus means treating all others as equals (“Jesus in distressing disguise,” Mother Theresa said), refusing self-centeredness, rejecting greed. (16:19-31)
  • Following Jesus means resisting temptation, trusting God in all things, and staying humble. (17:1-10)
  • Following Jesus means being thankful. (17:11-19)
  • Following Jesus means living in His Kingdom right now, under His authority now, an alien, a visitor, a pilgrim in the world; being an ambassador for Christ. (17:20-37)
  • Following Jesus means stewardship, living simply as part of a community, embracing the most vulnerable, welcoming the child, selling all and following Him. (Chapter 18)
  • Following Jesus means having a changed heart and a changed life. (19:1-10)
  • Following Jesus means allegiance to a humble King. (19:28-40)
  • Following Jesus means lament. (19:41-48)

That’s a far cry from “say this prayer, read your Bible, pray and go to church.”

With all my heart, I desperately want to follow Jesus.

I want to be a sold-out, on-fire, totally committed, radical Jesus freak.

But I can’t.

I am too weak, too afraid, too selfish.

Of course, I need the indwelling, constant power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

I also need you. I need community. I need sisters and brothers with whom I can do life.

 

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist Jesus Freak Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, husband, father, grandfather

Posted on May 26, 2018, in Bible, bodily resurrection, Christianity, Prayer, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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