What is required of you to join the Jesus mission?

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.   When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  NIV Matthew 11:1-3

This is interesting because John the Baptist is Jesus’ cousin, they knew each other.  When John baptized Jesus, heaven opened up and a dove landed on Jesus’ shoulder.  And the voice of God said, “This is my son.”  It was undeniably clear to John, that Jesus is the one.  The Messiah.  If John knew who Jesus was, why did John send his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one?”  Because John was in prison and facing death.  John knew, if Jesus is the Messiah, He has the power to free me.  What John wanted to know was, “Jesus, are you going to come through for me?”

Let’s read Jesus’ response Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”  NIV Matthew 11:4-6  Jesus is telling John something that is unnerving.  John, I am the Messiah.  I’m the one.   John, I’m not going to come through for you on this one.  You’re my cousin, you’re a few miles away, but this time, I’m not stepping in.  It’s true, I am healing people and I could save your life with onerd, but I’m not going to.  Remember John, your blessed if you don’t fall away from believing in me.

Is this what the civilized, religious, domesticated Christianity tells you today?  No.  They tell you everyone gets treated the same.  You’ll be insulated from all pain.  You don’t have to risk anything, sacrifice anything or lose anything.  The closer you get to God means, comfortable, healed, success.  Here is the problem we have with North American Christians today.  They hear this and believe it because they aren’t reading scripture.  They come to God for safety, comfort and success, then they are always stunned when bad things happen.  They are dazed, confused and some can become bitter.  How could God allow them to walk through struggles?  Where is God?

Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you.  Instead, be really glad-because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.  TLB  1 Peter 4:12-13

So let me ask you something.  Would you still give your life to God if you knew He wasn’t going to rescue you from pain on this earth?   Like John the Baptist in prison, you’re in pain.  You might even die.  You go to God and nothing changes.  You want to know, “God, are you the one?”  Like the message Jesus gave to John, “I’m not coming through for you on this one.”    How could all those people in the early church die for Jesus and be okay with it?  They understood the call of God was barbaric and it doesn’t come with safety, comfort or success.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For anyone who keeps his life for himself shall lose it; and anyone who loses his life for me shall find it again.  What profit is there if you gain the whole world-and lose eternal life?”  TLB Matthew 16:24-26

Here’s the deal about following Jesus.  There is an emptiness in your heart.  To deal with that, we try to fill that emptiness on our own.  How?  Success.  Addictions.  Staying a victim.  Religion, following the rules and wanting others to follow the rules and doing a lot of ‘good’ things.  All of it leads to pain and bondage and broken relationships in this life.  Jesus comes to heal your heart and fill that emptiness.  He comes to forgive you and heal you and love you.  He wants to walk with you every day.  Then, you can help others find the freedom God gave you.  Understand, when you give your life to Jesus, He doesn’t remove all pain or struggle.  He gives you the Holy Spirit to walk through this life.

What is required to be a disciple of Jesus is to give your life to God.