One of the most important ways that the New Testament writers sought to understand identity was by asking:whom do you follow?The people and things that we choose to follow after reveal who we really are on the inside – they reveal our priorities, our motives, our sense of purpose, and the things that matter to us. If we choose to follow after money, power, reputations, famous people, politicians, or even our favorite theologians, it says something about who we are. So…who or what are you following? What does it say about you?
If we are following Jesus, we will need to do so in a way that reflects those first few who followed Jesus. These men and women found their identity as disciples. Jesus’ disciples lived in community with Jesus and were shaped by the way that community described the world, saw the world, and acted in the world. That is, they were shaped by learning to say, see, and act as Jesus did.
This past week, we explored the importance of learning to describe the world correctly, as Jesus taught his disciples to describe it. For instance, he taught them to call Samaritans “neighbors” – the people that Israelites despised! He taught them to describe his mourning, meek, hungry, persecuted, peacemaking, poor-in-heart followers as “blessed.” He taught them to describe God as “Abba,” or “Daddy.” The Bible is filled with the grammar of discipleship which seeks to teach us to describe the world correctly! Love, faith, hope, justification, sanctification, glorification, resurrection, evangelism – all of these words seek to tell us something about God and the world we live in.
As those who seek to follow Jesus in and with the community that we call “church,” we are called to follow Jesus by paying close attention to what we say. The way we describe the world forms part of our identity, and it is an integral part of being a disciple. Are you learning the grammar of discipleship?