How did the early Christians turn the world upside down? They had no planned strategies to do so. Or did they? They understood that engaging with the world in its multi-faceted fallenness is not rocket science. Gospel impact did not depend first on finely crafted arguments; it depended on grace-transformed lives that gave power to gospel proclamation. With that in mind, consider and reflect on Jesus’s teaching on authentic discipleship.
Much of the Bible’s teaching on being a follower of Jesus is unsettling and very uncomfortable to read. Jesus’s words at the close of his Sermon on the Mount are intended to provoke, unsettle, and disturb would-be disciples: ‘Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’ (Matthew 7:21-23).
Luke tells us that ‘great crowds’ were following Jesus. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if great crowds began coming to your church? And then Jesus spoke to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.’