following jesus today
Why do you suppose it is sometimes difficult for Christians to acknowledge the full humanity of Jesus? To be sure, following Jesus still requires plenty of leaving behind. The stories of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2 remind us that God includes senior adults in his kingdom work. We who seek to follow Jesus today are called, not just to marvel, but to believe and obey. Then he brought up examples from two Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha. And how amazing for Jesus to hear of your special love and delight in him. So what does it mean for us to follow Jesus today? He really understands what it’s like to be us when we are tempted. If not, why not? He did not let popularity govern his behavior because he knew what his Heavenly Father had called him to do. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. May I know, almost as if I actually heard your voice, that you love me and take pleasure in me. He surely has many detractors. Crowds of people came to hear John and to be baptized by him, including those you might not have expected. But, in the meanwhile, we do have access to the teachings of Jesus that are recorded in the biblical gospels. And giving birth to the Son of God was surely not on her agenda. “Here am I,” she said, “the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Both tax collectors and soldiers in first-century Galilee had considerable power and quite a bit of freedom in the way they exercised this power. In other words, being a Christian doesn't just mean we believe the right things about Jesus, or even claim to love him. In the meanwhile, Jesus, help us to remember and to embrace your full humanity. Jesus felt tremendous grief as he gazed upon the broken city. If Luke 4:18-19 lays out Jesus’s mission, what might this mean for those of us who are seeking to following Jesus today? Seven hundred years ago, a man living in a small village in southern England offered a simple, heartfelt prayer: “Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for me. If, like me, you want to expand your mind and heart when it comes to issues of race, let me point to a couple helpful resources. Be open to the possibility that God might be calling you to something new. A publisher loved my thesis and my title, so I got to work writing Surprised by Jesus. And there were with Joseph three boys, and with Mary a girl, going on the journey along with them. As we take our grief to the Lord, we ask what he would have us do. But today I’m moved by his example of vulnerable leadership. John understood this context and responded accordingly to the tax collectors: “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you” (Luke 3:13). Perhaps the most familiar example appears in John 11, where Jesus wept along with those who were grieving over the death of Lazarus (John 11:31-35). After all, Juneteenth is a celebration of liberation. You understand me, my joys and loves, my fears and longings. Though we can’t actually walk behind him, going wherever he goes, we can follow Jesus by heeding his call, listening to his teachings, believing and doing what he says, getting to know him personally, learning his way of life, being formed in the image of his character, praying as he teaches us, and joining in his kingdom-centered mission. I’m talking about Mary’s part, not just her willingness to conceive by the power of the Spirit, but also everything else that is implied in the phrase, “born of the Virgin Mary.” Though her conception was unique and supernatural, Mary experienced a natural, down-to-earth pregnancy, with all its joys and challenges. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is tempted by the devil. Do you ever think of your daily work as pleasing to God? May I turn from all that keeps me from following you in every context of my life. One of my favorite stories appears in the so-called Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, which was written perhaps in the 7th century A.D. Take some time to open your heart to God. Ironically and sadly, we who seek to follow Jesus are sometimes quite adept at explaining away his teaching. Mary must have been gobsmacked. But Jesus did not do as Simon said. We offer ourselves as instruments of his peace, as seekers of his justice in every part of life, and as people who love in deed and not only in word. Epiphany 3 B: Following Jesus Today. The ministry of John the Baptist in the New Testament teaches us to exercise justice in every part of life. Watch this scene from Chariots of Fire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ile5PD34SS0. If not, why not? Jesus could have shown up as a fully-grown man, or as some kind of invincible demigod (picture Thor or Wonder Woman, with awesome super-powers). Another reason the full humanity of Jesus matters is that it means he understands our experience. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. Thank you! I want to be right. Life for Leaders is emailed to your inbox each morning, free of charge. In this passage, Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah while attending the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. When thinking of the troubles young adults can get into, we sometimes talk about their “bowing to peer pressure.” But, the fact is that more mature adults often do the very same thing. But Jesus, who knows everything about you, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is not deterred. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day. Help me, I pray, to know my purposes and let this purpose guide my life. He knows how difficult relationships can be, whether with family members or co-workers. Lord Jesus, I wonder what I would have done if I had been in the boat with Simon Peter. Would I have responded to your call as Simon, James, and John did?
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