Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

Jesus and his disciples are on Peter’s front porch after dinner. Bumper, Jesus’ dog is sitting licking Jesus’ feet. Andrew is scratching the dog’s ears. The rest of the disciples are lounging around and Judas is annoying everyone with his cigar.

Matthew: Lord, which of us follows you best?

Jesus: Bumper.

Matthew: What? He’s just a mutt.

Jesus: You should love me like Bumper loves me.

Nathaniel: Dogs are unclean.

Jesus: Yep. They’re pitiful. Bumper thinks cat pooh is wonderful. Absolutely hopeless. To love him I have to overlook his nature. However, he’s happy with anything I give him. He’ll even try turnips if they’re from me.

Andrew (quits scratching Bumper and looks at his fingers): So, he’s unclean and that’s okay?

Jesus: It’s the tension again — the truth is brutal and grace is kind. Bumper is a mess and I love him. He follows me everywhere and is happy with everything but my absence. He’ll walk beside me all day just to have the chance to lick my (unclean) feet. I say, ‘Bumper come,’ he comes, ‘Bumper go,’ he goes. I say, ‘Bumper stay,’ and he’ll sit waiting for me indefinitely.

Peter (he raises his hand and Jesus nods): So, when you asked us to ‘follow,’ you were thinking about dogs?

Jesus: Well, sort of. Remember when I told you the ‘come as a child’ thing? It’s like that. Bumper is pure dog. He lives for me. His happiness is me. Remember the scribe who was arguing with me and grabbed my robe at the bus stop past Nazareth, near Sephora, where my Aunt Anne lives? Bumper was on…hackles up, growling and all that. Bumper processes HIS life through MY perspective.

John: Woohoo! So, you DO want us as bodyguards! I knew it!

Jesus (holding up his hand): Uhm, no. If you’ll remember, I told Bumper to sit and shake hands with the scribe, which he did, though the scribe declined.

They all laugh.

Judas (blowing smoke rings): Bumper is a good dog. He sleeps at your feet, eats anything, obeys, is house broken and even herds sheep. We could rent him to shepherds.

Jesus: Yeah, Judas, he’s a good dog. Bumper would die for me. But, here’s the important thing: Bumper is just a beast that’d be nothing without a master. When I named him, I CREATED him. I gave him an identity. He finds meaning and purpose through me, his master, who loves him. Bumper is completed by me. When your life is me, you will be the most you that you can be. I’ve come to give you life and give it completely.

Tr8: You ARE defined by your master. Choose Christ as your master. You become you when you are known by  Jesus.

Advertisements

Image

There’s no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for others.

John the Baptist: Beheaded by Herod, 31 A.D.

Jesus of Nazareth: Crucified in Jerusalem, 33 A.D., but wouldn’t stay dead.

Stephen: Stoned, 34 A.D.

James (Brother of John): Killed by sword on order of Herod Agrippa in 44 A.D.

Phillip: Scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified in Heliopolis, Turkey, 54 A.D.

Barnabas: Stoned about 57 A.D.

James (Brother of Jesus): Clubbed to death in Jerusalem, 62. A.D.

Andrew: Crucified in Achaia, Greece, 60 A.D.

Peter: Crucified upside-down in Rome, probably under Nero in 60s A.D.

Paul: Beheaded in Rome, 60s A.D.

Matthew: Speared in the city of Nadabah, Ethiopia, 60 A.D.

Thaddeus. Crucified in Edessa, Greece, A.D. 72

Simon the Zealot: Crucified, 74 A.D.

Mattias (who replaced Judas):  Stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem.

Thomas: Run through with a spear in India.

Batholomew: Beaten with rods and beheaded, India.

John Mark: Dragged to pieces and beheaded in Alexandria, Egypt.

Ignatius of Antioch: Fed to lions in Rome, 117 A.D.

Polycarp of Smyrna: Six believers were scourged and beheaded. He was burned at the stake in the market, 155 A.D.

Irenaeus: Martyred in 190 A.D.

Pothirus, Origen, Justin Martyr, Cyprian…the list goes on an on. Some estimate Christians continue to die for their faith at the rate of about 450 a day.

Historical purists and others may say the historical record is unreliable.

They may be right, so, throw out half, two-thirds, nine-tenths, or all but the three (John the Baptist, Stephen, and James) recorded in the NT.

Historical records (secular and sacred) support the notion most of the men who followed Christ in life, followed him in death. As did many of the Disciples’ disciples. History is established by multiple witnesses triangulating an event to the satisfaction of the public. To varying degrees, these stories cleared the public bar.

The breaking trend in these lives is sacrificial dedic8ion and commitment to Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God. Whatever else can be said about Christ, he impressed his followers and they believed him.

They lived at risk.

They held nothing back.

They lived and died for Christ — for the one who died for them.

Tr8: Sacrificial love.

There’s no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for others.

How are you laying yours down today?