Discipleship, Acceptance and Grace
February 9, 2011 Leave a comment
20 times in the Gospels Jesus says, “Follow me.” Is there any greater invitation in all of scripture than for the Son of God to invite sinful men to walk in his steps? As has been said a million times on a million websites, discipleship is about following Jesus Christ. What hit me about discipleship this morning that I hadn’t really thought about before was that there are two perspectives we can view discipleship from. I usually think of discipleship from the point of view of the follower. That is natural because that is my own point of view as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But that is only half of it. I hadn’t really thought about discipleship from Jesus’ perspective before. What does Jesus calling us to follow him say about how he views us, as his followers? A second question came to mind that had to do with acceptance, would Jesus call someone to follow him if he didn’t accept them for the person they are? I am not saying Jesus is alright with sin and condoning of unrighteousness. I am saying Jesus loves everyone.
Acceptance is a powerful thing. We all want it. If we want it from friends, family and even strangers it only makes sense that we want it from God as well. The biggest roadblock in our minds that makes us fear being accepted are our own imperfections. We know well that our biggest imperfection and roadblock (in our minds) to being accepted by God is our sin. What is amazing is that Jesus chose his disciples from among the everyday, ordinary common people. He wasn’t looking for the big shots or the “most righteous” because in God’s eyes, compared to God, there are no big shots and there is only one who is righteous and He is not a man. Instead,
“it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:8
Our being accepted by God and picked to be His disciples is an act of grace. So it is important that we see discipleship from our point of view…how do we follow Christ, what does he desire from us as his followers, etc. But it is also important to try and see ourselves from his vantage point. In doing so we will develop a healthier identity in Christ, be able to forgive ourselves of past mistakes, and extend that same grace to others around us because we see just how profoundly powerful His grace has been in our own call to follow Him. Well intentioned discipleship necessitates an understanding of how the master views his disciples. Somehow I had missed that half of it.