Discipleship is a Journey…
“And the eleven went to the mountain in Galilee where Jesus had arranged to meet them…And Jesus came and spoke these words to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. You, then, are to go and make disciples…” - Matthew 28:16ff (J.B. Phillips)
Atop Mt. Tabor in Galilee, which tradition names as both the Mt. of Transfiguration and the summit where the risen Christ commissioned his disciples, the view is still breathtaking today. Deb and I stood there on a hot day in spring, looking out at the panorama below: a view which contained nearly every episode of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. Far to the west, the fleecy cloud above the Mediterranean beckoned, while to the east, beyond the sapphire Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights arose and with it the ancient road that leads to Damascus, to Baghdad, the Hindu Kush and even the Far East. “Go and make disciples of all nations,” he said. Reflecting on the millions who answered this call by carrying the gospel to all the peoples of the earth still fills me with awe and wonder and joy. I know that I can trace the gift of my own faith in an unbroken line back to this very mountain and these eleven faithful followers who carried the message of our salvation north, south, east and west.
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” said our Lord on that very first Easter (cf. Jn. 20:21). That makes us a “sent people”—commissioned with the life-changing challenge of paying his gift of abundant, forgiven, grace-laden living forward. This is why the work of making disciples is a process. It’s all about the journey—not the destination (at least not yet). We are becoming more Christ-like by walking in his ways and by entrusting our future to his sovereign provision. As we cherish and care for each other as he cares for each of us, the company of the beloved grows wider and deeper day by day.
In these coming weeks, I pray that you will experience God’s love for you with ever-greater assurance, consider your own discipleship as a journey that lies ahead of you, reflect carefully on where God has placed you in the economy of his Kingdom, and launch yourself forward in life-giving ways. Whether it be by serving at Hesed House, Wayside Cross or YMEN, these humble acts of serving themselves will transform you. Perhaps Christ is calling you to serve him further afield, or even to change your life’s trajectory by preparing for a career of full-time Christian service.
Whatever your heart is calling you to envision, believe that the journey will fill you, too, with enduring love born from both sorrow and joy. Christ is making you, too, into his chosen disciple. Through your obedience to him in things both great and small, he is making you into the light of the world. With Joy,