Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Missional Jesus 5

Missional Jesus summons others to attach themselves to himself and doesn’t care what ties they have to break in order to be attached to him and the mission of God he has come to preach and enact.
Notice our text today: Luke 9:57-62.
1. It is far too easy to make this a “discipleship” (only) text. That is, something about ethics and commitment to follow Jesus subsequent to salvation. Mistake. This is all one and the same.
2. Missional Jesus knows the cost to the body (9:58).
3. Missional Jesus knows the cost to the family life when it comes to sacred customs (9:59-60).
4. Missional Jesus knows the cost to the family life when it comes to simple social courtesies (9:61-62).
Missional Jesus wants all of his followers, he wants them to make that decision now, and he wants all of them because he knows the kingdom of God is worth it.
To quote Mark Galli, Missional Jesus is more mean and wild than meek and mild.
Luke 9:57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Luke 9:58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Luke 9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good–by to my family.”
Luke 9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

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John W Frye

posted June 22, 2007 at 8:37 am

But, Scot, we USAmerican believers want a tame and safe Jesus. What’s with this “mean and wild”? We want our Jesus to be a “nice guy” who does everything “decently and in order.” No fuss, no muss. The Gospel according to Roberts’ Rule of Order!

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tim atwater

posted June 22, 2007 at 8:58 am

our bible study group is working through luke and this is exactly where we paused at the end of our last session…And this is the lectionary text for july 1 that i’ve just been sharing about with a friend and parishioner who’ll preach while i’m away that day…so this posting makes for a triple-focus…
For our study group, the line about Not even going to the funeral of a parent line was what grabbed hardest and really hurt some people…
several asked variations on “Is Jesus really serious about this? and if so, how does this fit with the commandment to honor our father and mother?” and we had a good discussion… on when is Jesus using hyperbolic or shock treatment language? when is he dead-on literal?
We did look back at ch 5 and your day 4 example — esp 5:11… and the call of Levi story just a little further on in ch 5, that makes a call and follow and leave all sandwich…And the call of Elisha by Elijah (1 kings 19)… which seems like a nice riff on the hands on the plow… leave the boat…
We talked about what does it mean to leave all? and follow?
Levi and Elisha serve banquets and we still don’t know if there was literally anything left over… but the later meals out of loaves and fishes suggest there always is…
The boats are left… (but in other gospels the hired guys are still there to help J and J’s dad work the nets)… and Peter leaves the boats… but his wife is still with him later on in the story(galatians mention)…
thanks for the discussion.
one small quibble about the process is the rapid pace… if we miss a day…the discussion on a point is usually over… and after two days it’s nearly always done…?
grace and peace

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posted June 22, 2007 at 10:12 am

Along these lines, not only does Jesus “strip us down” when we come to him, as he does in this text and several others, he also does it–very pointedly–when he sends out the disciples into his mission. I think for the 12 and 72, he is very specific that they take no money with them for the journey, nothing except his message and his aurhority to do what he’s been doing, which he says will provide for them. Afterward in one of the gospels, before he’s about to be crucified and physically gone from them, he reminds them of those trips and asks them “Did you lack anything?”, to which they answer “No.”
There’s something, maybe a couple somethings, about this whole lesson of detachment/re-attachment, and even about what is required to be Jesus’ disciple and do Jesus’ mission, that we’re not wanting to receive or acknowledge. We don’t typically try to strip missionaries/planters down to no physical resources (more than they already are). We generally do the opposite and try to raise funds for what they’ll *need* for the trip. Relatedly, neither do we generally send them with the power/authority/expectation to do what Jesus and the apostles did–healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons. Jesus sends with power & message (no money). We do money & message (no power). Is this an issue for the Church? Let me say to my fellow Charismatic-types, we also like to receive and send disciples with all the cash they can muster–even for ‘ministry’ purposes. Are we somehow askewing the mission of Jesus with our faith in cash–both in the intake and sending of disciples into their respective missions and vocations? Does the faith in cash (a kind of spreading our bets) work against whatever faith we have that God will heal the sick, raise the dead, etc. in our mission work? Does it alter the ‘gospel’ we present?
(By the way, I’m not a hippie living in a van, I’m a lawyer/professor/church planter/disciple just trying to figure these things out.)

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posted June 22, 2007 at 6:06 pm

T, you bring up a very interesting point, as it is one I have struggled with for a couple months. I think we do send our missionaries in power though, for it is in our weakness that God’s power is revealed. Our money both hinders and enhances that weakness– especially when one realizes money can’t bring back the dead or perform miracles.
However, Jesus told the rich young man/ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor and to follow him.
Scot, here is a loaded question: what does “following”Jesus look like today since we can’t literally follow him as he teaches? Is it bringing the kingdom to our world?

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Scot McKnight

posted June 22, 2007 at 7:51 pm

It looks like the Jesus Creed — loving God and loving others.
It looks like holiness.
It looks like grace and forgiveness.
So, it looks like the same thing it did in the first century when we let relational ethics shape everything.

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