The hard edge – Hope 103.2

The hard edge

We try to make our church gatherings as appealing as we can to those considering Jesus. But, as usual, Jesus has a different slant on all this.

By David ReayThursday 5 Apr 2018LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Luke 9:57-62

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus[a] said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (NRSV)

This sort of thing is not in many evangelistic courses around the place. We put the emphasis on trying to attract people, to show how desirable it is to follow Jesus. We try to make our church gatherings as appealing as we can to those considering Jesus. Our marketing is geared towards smoothing out all obstacles to following Jesus or joining church.

And this is understandable. We want people to see the truth about Jesus rather than fall for the widespread distortions of who he is and what he did. We want people to see for themselves that church is not a group of morally superior killjoys who sing tedious songs and listen to boring sermons. (And we fervently hope our own churches are not like that!).

But, as usual, Jesus has a different slant on all this. He does truly want people to follow him. He longs for all to be saved. But he wants them to know just what is involved in following, in being saved. He doesn’t smooth out difficulties or water down his demands. He is not out to draw a crowd. He is out to make disciples.

And so it needs to be for our churches and for us as individuals. Any church with enough resources can draw a crowd. Any persuasive individual might win a convert. But making disciples is another matter. That involves spelling out uncomfortable truths. It may mean turning people off. It may mean fewer responses or attendees. Then again, we are meant to be sharing the gospel not winning consumers.

Blessings
David Reay