Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Retreat Chronicles VI: The Disciple's Questions and Ours

"Lord, why can't I follow you now?" - The disciple Peter's request, reflecting his desire for Closeness with Jesus

"Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way? - The disciple Thomas' request, reflecting his desire for Direction from Jesus

"Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." - The disciple Philip's request, reflecting his desire for Satisfaction from Jesus

"Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" - The disciple Judas' request, reflecting his desire for Glory for Jesus

"Lord, let us be close to you, give us direction from you, let us be satisfied with you, make us a glory for you." - The disciple Brian's request, reflecting the Southwest church's desire to make more disciples

The questions Jesus entertained from his disciples at his last ministry team retreat before his death reflected their continued confusion concerning what Jesus was doing and was wanting from them. This could have been deeply disturbing to Jesus, considering the high stress level he must have been beginning to feel as the evening crept on. But instead, I wonder if Jesus took comfort in the desires that each of their uninformed questions represented? Sure, maybe they didn't quite understand the details of how Jesus was going to satisfy their heart's desires, but another thing was also sure...after 3 1/2 years of walking with Jesus, they DID know that HE was the one who would!
Our ministry team awoke Friday morning, after having tasted of the true community that is available to us because of Christ Thursday night, with very similar feelings. At least I did, and the events of the day made me feel like we were all in agreement. I know I want to be closer to Jesus, I know I want direction from Jesus, I know I want to be satisfied only in Jesus, and I know I want us (the church we serve) to be a display of Jesus' glory, but I'm a little unsure of how he plans on accomplishing it. So we launched into Objective #2 for our weekend: "To define what a 'disciple of Jesus' is."

See, when Jesus gives his commission to these first followers, telling them to "Go and make disciples...", they had the advantage of those 3 1/2 years of actually being followers. They knew exactly what a disciple was, what a disciple did, how a disciple felt...basically, they knew all the characteristics and qualities that made up a disciple of Jesus because it's what they were. And they had the advantage of watching the one they were to imitate first hand. The way Jesus said it to them was, "All this I have spoken while still with you." They had the advantage of the Living Word in their midst to show them what to become.

We, on the other hand, though we still have Jesus as our model, must depend on two things to know and discover what a disciple of Jesus is...1) The Written Word, that records what we know of him, and 2) the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, who will teach us all things and will remind us of everything he said to us.

And so we asked the question...what is a disciple of Jesus? We know we are supposed to "make disciples", but what specifically does that mean? We bowed our heads Friday morning, and we asked the Father to send His Holy Spirit and teach us and remind us of everything we have learned from His Son Jesus in the written Word.

Maybe it was a silly, confused question. But because of what happened next, we think that Jesus was smiling on us because of our noble and pure desires.

No comments: