“Come, follow me” Mark 1:17
Jesus called people out.
In doing so Jesus made them individuals.
It isolated them.
People were called out from their connections and attachments and deeply rooted relationships.
Peter, James and John from family fishing business; Levi in the middle of his job tax collecting, a rich young man after he asks Jesus a question – reach called out and presented with a choice that they as individuals had to reckon with.
It is perhaps best put to us here,
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
When Christians talk about following Jesus it’s not about following just any old person – we talk about following a King – the King – the messiah, the son of God (which both mean King), the Lord. What’s going on with Jesus is that in him Christians recognize the person God has put in charge of everything – the whole world, all of it; more even, the whole cosmos.
The absurdity is that this King asks people – even you and me – to be his disciple; his follower.
This Jesus – King Jesus – calls you out because he can; in fact because he cares, because he is good, because as Peter recognised Jesus had “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). [That’s not about some “going to heaven when you die” mumbo jumbo – it means experiencing something of full life, true life, life in all its goodness now(!) – this is why and how Jesus calling you out is good and caring (even in your best interests)]
He calls you out from mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers because the call to follow the person God has appointed King of the world runs deeper than those connections.
Jesus’ call to discipleship is more immediate than relationships we are born into. That’s how pressing it is.
Hate above is not discussing your desire for the worst to happen to those people; it’s pressing you to consider the intensity of your willingness to disavow and forsake the connections that are most, immediate, natural and valuable to you – not because they are unimportant but because they are so important.
Those things that define us; make us who we are – we say “who would I be without my… [insert: friends, family and whatever else]”
Jesus calls you out from them.
Jesus makes you an individual. Were you said “who would I be without…” Jesus now asks “would you be with me or without me?”
Jesus has you stand before him and confronts you with the words, “Come, follow me”.
We would perhaps rather not have the call to be disciple on those terms but we receive it that way all the same.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever losestheir life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35
You are being called out.
You are being made an individual and are being presented with a choice that deals you alone.
At the risk of over personalizing however, this call, that deals with you as an individual; that calls you out from all current societies and communities and collectives extends to you one that Jesus himself creates.
You receive back all that you disconnect yourself from in Jesus’ collective/society/community.
This is what Jesus is on about here,
“Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29
Jesus does not abandon you if you choose to follow – you are redefined and embraced as part of his crew, his people. Bonhoeffer puts it this way,
“Everyone enters discipleship alone, but no one remains alone in discipleship. Those who dare to become single individuals are given the gift of church-community.”
It is with those people you are on a mission. It is with those people you share a vision. It’s called the God’s Kingdom and it’s the collective you enter, as an individual, that continues to do what (it’s King) Jesus was doing.
[I’m currently reading Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is sparking lots of thoughts. Expect more like the above – which is essentially paraphrasing one of the chapters… badly]