Just Don’t Quit: A Few Keys to Being a Follower of Jesus
It’s interesting to see all of the different ways that people view the early followers of Jesus. They are often called the disciples and I find that description to be strange. If a disciple is a “disciplined one”, I wonder why they are called that? They aren’t very disciplined at all. Frankly, they seem pretty confused most of the time and Jesus is needing to correct their behavior at every turn.
But we have to remember: Jesus chose them.
And the important question is: Why did he choose them?
What was it about them that made him want them? And maybe…we should emulate some of the strengths they demonstrate. They do have some very discernible characteristics that we would do well to live into.
In my opinion the most clear characteristic of their lives is perseverance. They simply don’t know how to quit. Most of the time they have no idea what’s going on…they mess it up…they experience tons of push back and seemingly very little reward. But they just don’t quit.
There’s one key moment when Jesus seems to be purposefully chasing people away. In John 6 he gives a whole discourse on eating his flesh and drinking his blood and the crowd isn’t sure that they want to follow a crazy suicidal cannibal. They say to each other “This is a hard teaching, who can accept it?” One by one they slowly start walking away. Then Jesus turns to his twelve and asks very simply “Do you also want to go?”
Peter’s response is amazing, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Peter says something amazing in this, but it is equally interesting to note what he doesn’t say. He doesn’t say, “Don’t worry, we know you don’t want us to eat you…” or “We know you are making an allusion to the manna in the desert, they just aren’t as smart as us…” or “We know that this is possibly a pre-cursor to the taking of the communion elements…”
I think in fact: Peter had no idea what was going on.
He didn’t need to know…he had already seen too much, he had nowhere else to turn.
Every true disciple of Jesus has this moment sooner or later. We have no idea what he’s doing, or why he’s doing it, but we keep following anyway. We might not have any sophisticated answers or divine insight…we just keep sticking close to him and choosing to trust him when it seems like the world is crashing in around us.
We learn to be like Peter…either too dumb or too stubborn to quit. We have been captured by his grace and love and we recall it even when we aren’t experiencing it in the present moment.
I wonder…what makes you want to quit following Jesus? What makes you confused about him?
Maybe there isn’t an answer for you right now…maybe you just need to just put one foot in front of the other and keep following.