Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Jesus on Being Missional 12

Full-scale missional work, as we see in Matthew 10:37-39, moves from love to sacrifice. He who loves anyone more than me, Jesus says, is not worthy of me. Anyone is clear, and a very forceful. But…
But what is striking to me is that Jesus sees the relationship of his missioners to be one of love for him. Love — which Jesus repeated daily in the Shema (Jesus Creed) — is the foundational core of the missioners life. And it is a love for Jesus.
How do we love Jesus? We love him by listening to him, by speaking with him, by following him, and by doing what he has given us the vocation to do. To swipe some terms from my book, to love Jesus is to yearn for, pray for (to in a trinitarian sense), and work for Jesus in all we do and say and are. (I’d suggest a good slow read of 1 John on this.)
Love, it should be observed, precedes sacrifice, though some make sacrifice the primary issue. Next Jesus says that genuine missional disciples take up the cross for Jesus and surrender their lives for Jesus. Notice: “the one who destroys his life for me/because of me will find his life.”
The issue, again, is not commitment to a cause, it is not radical implication in a vision, nor is it mental surrender to an idea. It is loving Jesus — which can then be about casuses, visions, and mental systems. But not until then.
The relationship precedes the sacrifice in genuine missional work.
This so hits home: it is always easy to turn Kingdom work into a cause or an issue or a mental system, but if it is not first and foremost personal — radically personal — it becomes vacuous (in the sense of empty).
Perhaps this is why Jesus asked Peter on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, “Do you love me?” Peter got it right this time. “Yes, Lord, I do.” Later that night, I suspect, dancing shadows could be seen near the fire. Peter knew he was back on track at the personal level and it made his feet Light.

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posted September 8, 2005 at 9:34 am

Another great post and reminder that loving Him is what it’s all about.
Thank you.

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted September 8, 2005 at 10:17 am

With most of the young evangelicals that I have the opportunity to disciple, their emphasis has always been that obedience/sacrifice is the expression of love God requires. While there is an element of truth there, the deeper, truer sense of loving Jesus fails to be captured in this approach.
I have always endeavoured to woo them into that describe here, though I feel ill-equipped to do so effectively. Any suggestions?

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posted September 8, 2005 at 10:20 am

Love it. I think it’s hard to relay this truth–many times the system of thought that we have is 1)train people to do what’s right 2)hopefully they will fall in love with “it” or more specifically “Jesus” along the way. What ends up happening is a disdain sets in from all the time spent working and serving with the void of a real love for Christ. Just think we need to work on a better origin for spiritual formation at times, starting with Jesus and not just trying to end up with Jesus. Myself included.

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posted September 8, 2005 at 11:13 am

Jamie, we live in a performance, ‘purpose,’ vision/mission DRIVEN world and these philosophies are embedde in us in such a way that it is difficult for any of us to even identify. The best way I’ve found to help other disciples of Jesus to discover what I understand our wise borther is saying here is to live out your own “radical personal realtionship” with Jesus.
Scripture keeps pushing us back to this core critical understanding from start to finish. I think the ‘grace grinder’ discussion is an example of how difficult it is to make radical personal relationship the core or perhaps CRUX (cross) of the matter.
To add support to what you say here, Scot, I’d point also to 1 Cor 13 where Paul makes it clear that LOVE must precede anything else we do in service to Jesus. (Paul’s radical conversion to relationship is profound to say the least.)

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posted September 8, 2005 at 1:13 pm

That is amazing yet challenging to think about. Love preceding sacrifice. Scot, thanks for these blogs on a missional Jesus.

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Scot McKnight

posted September 8, 2005 at 1:36 pm

The issue for me gets down to the gospel itself — what is it? Simply a transaction of our sin from ourselves to Christ and an imputation of his righteousness to us, or (without denying the former) primarily a reconciliation of the trinitarian God, who is Person, with us, as persons?
This is exactly why I have been working on re-shaping the gospel in light of personhood.
Until we turn the gospel into person-person instead of problem-resolution, we will always create too much impersonality to faith and too much abstraction to satisfy who God made us to be.

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted September 8, 2005 at 1:38 pm

Preach it!

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posted September 8, 2005 at 3:04 pm

I like that, Scot. One story that comes to mind for me when you talk like this is the story of Manoah and Zorah in Judges 13 (these are the parents of Samson). When Manoah and Zorah finally realize who they are talking iwth this is the final exchange between them, “Manoah said to his wife, “We are sure to die, because we have seen God!” But his wife answered, “If the LORD had wanted to kill us, he would not have accepted our offerings; he would not have shown us all this or told us such things now.”
This is the story that comes to mind when I hear rebukes about being too familiar with God. Your attemt to re-shape the gospel in light of personhood affirms my intuitive strides inthis direction for since I first started wrestling with the Angel of the Lord in the dust, sweat and dirt of this world…

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Ted Gossard

posted September 10, 2005 at 3:42 am

Powerful thoughts. Was reflecting on this blog. I need to be more intentional in being motivated in all things primarily and foundationally by the love of Christ. Love is to be reciprocated back to him, of course.

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