Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Depart From Me!

I never knew you! Depart from me!” These are the most frightening words anyone could hear on the lips of Jesus, yet they are central to the conclusion of his ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ His Discourse was never a program for reforming or governing civil society, but instructions for his disciples on how they must live as faithful citizens and representatives of his Kingdom and message. There is no bypassing the Cross.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Carrying His Cross

Retaliation and violence are never appropriate reactions to persecution by the disciples of Jesus. Rather than respond in kind, they must meet threats and assaults with humility, mercy, and forgiveness. Doing so is what it means to “deny yourself,” “take up his cross,” and follow him. We fulfill the “Law and Prophets” and become “perfect as our Heavenly Father” by doing good to our “enemies.”

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Perfected Disciples

Jesus instructed us to become “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” yet how can we emulate the perfect righteousness of God? His explanation was clear - By performing acts of mercy, ESPECIALLY to our enemies. Self-sacrificial love goes to the heart of his message and the nature of the merciful God. Was he not the Messiah who submitted to an undeserved death for us even when we were the “enemies of God”?

"Rejoice and Exult!"

The outbreak of persecution is always a possibility for the followers of Jesus. We often face hostility from employers, neighbors, government, and family members. So, how should we react when the possibility becomes a brutal reality? Jesus and the Apostles provided clear instructions and examples of how his disciples must react when faced with persecution.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Mercy and Enemies

The reality of persecution raises important questions. How should disciples of Jesus react, especially when persecuted by the State? Is resorting to anger or acts of civil disobedience appropriate, or should they instead emulate examples from the life of Christ? In his teachings, he warned all men who decided to follow him to expect “tribulation,” and he summoned them to follow his path (“If they persecuted me, so they will persecute you”).

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Abundant Righteousness

Jesus exhorted us to become “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” yet how can we emulate the perfect righteousness of God? His explanation was clear - By performing acts of mercy, ESPECIALLY to our enemies. Self-sacrificial love goes to the heart of his message and reflects the nature of the merciful God. Was he not the Messiah who submitted to an undeserved death for us even when we were the “enemies of God”?

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

His Way

Jesus arrived in Galilee proclaiming the “Kingdom of God” – “Repent, for the kingdom is at hand.” In his ministry, the reign of God was invading the Earth, but his realm was of a different nature than the governments and ideologies of this fallen world, and on more than one occasion, Jesus refused political power, especially when it was offered by Satan.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

First Disciples

Disciples of Jesus are called to leave everything behind, if need be, and to dedicate their entire lives to his mission of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the Earth. Though the story as recorded in the synoptic gospels is brief, we begin to glimpse the true cost of discipleship. Jesus began building his new community in “Galilee of the Nations” by inviting four fishermen to leave their livelihoods and follow him “on the way” which would lead to his death in Jerusalem.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Who is this Man?

In Galilee, the disciples witnessed Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, forgive sins, and even calm a violent storm, all supernatural acts performed with great authority. However, his words and deeds produced confusion followed by the question – “Who is this man?” Only at his execution on Golgotha did a human being begin to understand who he was.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Servant of Yahweh

Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the role of the ‘Suffering Servant’ described in the Book of Isaiah. Unlike Adam, he did not attempt to grasp the “likeness of God.” Instead, he humbled himself and submitted to a shameful death on the Roman cross. For this reason, God highly exalted him and made him “Lord” and Sovereign over all things. His exaltation did not precede his death – His enthronement followed it, and he died utterly alone.