Introduction (first part)

24 01 2016

What will this trail guide contribute to readers?

Jesus told his disciples something that he intended them to tell the next generation, “Follow Me.” This invitation was to be offered from generation to generation until Jesus would return. We find ourselves in that interim period, waiting for His return. What were His instructions to the disciples? To follow Him. As common as this thought is, we would be wise to reflect on it.

Did Jesus mean to follow Him at a great distance, where we could barely see Him before He went over a rise or rounded a bend? That’s not the picture we get from the gospel accounts. Jesus kept His disciples near Him. They ate together, walked and talked together. They sailed together, endured storms together, and fed multitudes together. So close did they follow Jesus that when His mother and siblings came looking for Him Jesus said that these men and women – His “disciples” – were his mother and brothers.

We can conclude that when Jesus wants His disciples to follow Him, He means that they – we—are to stay near. Near enough that He would say of us: these are my brothers and sisters. Following Jesus Christ, nearly 2,000 years after His death, likely sounds like a crazy concept to some. But our belief that He rose from the dead and lives today means that, in the mystery of spiritual things, Jesus can be in heaven with the Father while living inside and alongside His followers. That being our conviction, we are able to follow His teachings and emulate His character. We can believe in Him for miracles as we employ His name which carries supreme weight in the heavenly power structure. We can stay so close to Jesus as to hear His whisperings into our heart.

No wonder, in the months after Jesus ascended into heaven, the cluster of followers started to describe their new lifestyle as “the way.” Jesus Christ created a new way of living, a new way of being, a new way of thinking. The next generation of believers, in another culture and country, continued living in this new way. The people of that city, Antioch, searched for a label for the people living this “way” and rightly identified the source of their uniqueness. They called them “Christians.” Christ-folk, that’s what they were.

This trail guide shows disciples today how to regain and retain our bearings along the Jesus way. In these pages we remember how to follow Him, to stay close to Him. In fact, the journey described in this guide takes us further into spirituality because it takes us further into Jesus Himself. This is as it should be, for Jesus was bold to say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a). The path for following Jesus is the path into Jesus Himself. This is the mystery we will attempt to explore in this guide.

To be continued…

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3 responses

1 02 2016
Robert Rasmussen

somehow Jesus, being still a man who is glorified in his post-resurrection existence, is localized, I assume at the right hand of the Father. Yet as God, Jesus is omnipresent, so He is with each of us. Amazing and wonderful mystery that defies our capacity.

31 01 2016
Angie

‘But our belief that He rose from the dead and lives today means that, in the mystery of spiritual things, Jesus can be in heaven with the Father while living inside and alongside His followers.’
I like the way you explain this mystery – I think that we tend to forget the mystery of the spiritual life, often trying to explain life’s unexplainable things. Perhaps we just have to hang on to Jesus and listen while he shows us more than we can always understand.

26 01 2016
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