Part 1. The Markers Along the Jesus Way

27 01 2016

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The story is told of two men who went hiking down into the Grand Canyon. The man in the lead was very experienced and had traversed the winding trail many times. The other man was a novice. After they had been hiking for a long time, the weather changed without warning. Suddenly a thick fog moved into the canyon, blocking out the sun’s light. The men could barely see each other. The novice began to fear that they would not be able to find their way out. In fact, he complained to his experienced friend, saying that they should have at least brought a map. To this the friend stopped walking, turned back to his nervous follower and said, “In these conditions, you don’t really need a map. What you need is a guide. And that’s what you have in me.”

As the One who commanded us to follow Him, Jesus alone can navigate any terrain we may encounter. One of the most reliable ways of staying on the way of Jesus is to allow Him to train us to recognize the four-fold pattern He set during His time on earth. As these four elements become distinct in our minds, they begin to appear as markers along the way.

Discovering these markers takes us right to the passion week. Focusing on this brief time of His ministry should not infer that the prior thirty-three years of His life can be taken lightly. The incarnation of Christ, and all of His teachings and miracles, are absolutely essential for our discipleship. However, our focus comes from the clarity gained by studying the passion of Christ. The markers on the trail exist because Jesus put them there at great expense. He fought for each marker, and etched them permanently for us to follow.

In your journey as a disciple, Jesus will meet you, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is there to strengthen and guide you at every juncture. As we follow Christ through the years, you will progressively grow deeper in your personal relationship in which you know Him and are known by Him. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Jesus accompanies you on the trail. He will meet you, and speak to you, at each place along the way.

In calling you to follow Him, Jesus offers deep rest and peace at the soul level, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). But the yoke of Jesus can only be light if it is the only yoke you carry. You will hear His voice only if you long to hear it above all others. If your heart is divided, the way will become unclear.

That is why Jesus speaks very bluntly about the danger of giving your allegiance to anyone other than Him. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27).

The Jesus way is a singular path, and a challenging one. Your loyalty to Christ must supersede all human relationships and obligations. You must deny anything or anyone who would compete with allegiance to Christ. This is not because Jesus is a cruel Master, but an acknowledgment of the reality of the human soul – you and I cannot serve two masters. Your capacity for true loyalty is limited to one affection at a time.

Not only is the Jesus way is a path of allegiance, it is a course of worship of Christ. Therefore you cannot bow your knee to another. It is a course of service for Christ. Therefore you cannot put your own needs first. And it is a course of giving all for Christ. Therefore you cannot keep or hold back anything for self.

With all of these dire warnings, why would anyone choose to follow Jesus? Why did Peter and Andrew immediately leave their fishing nets to follow the Master (Matt. 4:20)? Why did Levi the tax collector leave everything, rise and follow Christ (Luke 5:28)? It seems as if Jesus tried to scare would-be disciples away!

Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, He unveiled a deep level of intimacy granted disciples as they follow Him. Jesus told the disciples that He would abide in them, and they would abide in Him. He prayed that we would be one with Him and with the Father (John 17: 21). He said that the glory given Him by the Father has been given to us (John 17:22). The Jesus way opens to us the opportunity to share in the experience and presence of the Son of God in the deepest conceivable intertwining of divine and human—His life on our life, journeying together. This is the reason that the sacrifice is worth it. This is why, at the end of life, you will say that there is no greater purpose in life than to follow Jesus no matter what.

Let us learn the first marker along the Jesus way

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2 responses

4 02 2016
Robert Rasmussen

Thanks Angie. I’m trying to put this firmly, but don’t want to come across as harsh. I know this path is not easy, but hope to convey that it is what Jesus expects. And that it’s worth it.

3 02 2016
Angie

Beautifully put: Not only is the Jesus way is a path of allegiance, it is a course of worship of Christ. Therefore you cannot bow your knee to another. It is a course of service for Christ. Therefore you cannot put your own needs first. And it is a course of giving all for Christ. Therefore you cannot keep or hold back anything for self.’

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