Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is Jesus Reckless?

In reading Luke chapter nine this morning, I was struck by the way Jesus seemed to play a bit fast and loose with the qualifications for joining him in his work. We know that the twelve disciples were pretty sketchy in their understanding of who Jesus was and what he was up to, yet they were sent out in his authority to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, to heal the sick, and to cast out demons. And Jesus sent them out unsupervised!

On top of that, when he was told that someone was out there casting out demons but not as part of the group of disciples, Jesus told his friends that it was okay: If a person isn’t against you, he says, then consider yourselves on the same team.

But what if (I am thinking to myself) that other person doesn’t think rightly about things we consider to be important? James might be wondering, “What if that person thinks that Samaritans are just as good as Jews?” John might ask, “What if that person is like the Sadducees, and doesn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead?” Peter could be asking, “But what if that person hasn’t given up everything like we have?”

If the disciples were to have asked Jesus these kinds of questions, there’s a good chance he would have answered them like he answered Peter much later, described in John 21:22:

“What is that to you? Follow me.”

I wonder if, today, Jesus wanders through the halls of power, up and down the grimy streets of the city, along the corridors of the prisons and the sanctuaries, seeing people acting out their dramas as ones who are sometimes for him and sometimes against him. In those places of turmoil and intrigue, does he continue to whisper the same words over and over to all the broken and misguided people he encounters?

“Come, follow me.”

And when we who call ourselves faithful describe who is in and who is out, whose political posturing constitutes good or evil, whose doctrinal declarations are truthful or heretical, whose worship practices are valid or invalid, does Jesus continue to say to us,

“What is that to you? Follow me.”

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