To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2014 Issue – ‘The Great Legacy’
Today’s text for reading and meditation is:
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV): ‘Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’’
I think the topic that Selwyn has written about is poorly understood by a number of people. Consequently, I’ll repeat a lot of what he has written to ensure that I maintain the context of his main message.
He writes: “Today, we return to these final words of Jesus, this time to reflect on His promise to be with us always, to the end of the age. … We have noted before the parallel to be drawn between the farewell speeches of Jesus and those of Moses. Such a comparison makes the contrasts all the more remarkable.
Moses, in his last message to the Israelites, said in effect: ‘Go into the Promised Land, teaching and observing all that God has commanded you in His law, and God’s presence will be with you always.’
By contrast, Jesus says, ‘Go into the world,’ and instead of putting them under orders to teach what God has commanded He tells them to make disciples, ‘teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (v20).
Notice the phrase: ‘I have commanded you.’ Who is this person who makes such astounding claims and promises? Who but Israel’s God has the right to speak and act as He does? Who indeed! But then there is only one conclusion to be drawn that the personal authority, truth and presence of the One Creator God is uniquely and indissolubly bound with this person Jesus.
Once we make that move we can then go about our world mission not just with the memory of Jesus to spur us on but with the living presence of Jesus as ‘God with us’ to accompany us.
Jesus is God, and having Him (with us) we are backed by the entire Godhead.”
While most Christians will say, especially when they repeat the Creed, that Jesus is truly God; and, I guess they have no doubts of this truth on an intellectual level; there appears to me – to be times – when this truth is not alive in some people’s hearts.
I think this lack of heart conviction, is usually seen by their reactions to what Jesus has to say in Scripture; in that, they don’t attempt to fully live out His teaching – as they would do – say, with their adherence to the ten commandments. For example, to forgive one’s enemies, is a teaching too hard for many to routinely follow.
Perhaps, if we keep it simple – there are two great commandments – to love Jesus by obeying His teaching; and to love each other in the same way that He loves us. The first commandment enables us to satisfy the requirements of the second commandment.
Those who have a loving relationship with God constantly work towards meeting the requirements of His commandments (even though they often fail, they keep trying). Anyone, who does not try to obey God’s commands – have not been called to follow Him.