Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wanted! Strong Christian Disciples Pt III – Come and See!

When Jesus called His disciples, He made a first impression like none other. Whether or not they had previously met, when He said, “Follow me!” they immediately obeyed and left everything else behind: their nets, boats, fathers, and even more than they realized: their old self-identity.

I don’t think they fully understood what they were doing right away, but something intrigued them about this Rabbi. He definitely was not like the others.
Was it His compassion that drew them, the authority in His voice, His gracious manner? Whatever it was, the fishermen became the fish and Jesus dangled this curious bait before them and then added: “I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19)

He didn’t give them all the details and that was part of His fascination.
He didn’t fill in all the data info blanks.
He didn’t appeal to their reasoning.
At heart, the call of God is very unreasonable.

When John the Baptist directed two of his disciples to now follow Jesus instead, they approached the Lord and asked, “Where are you staying?” A very dangerous question. Sometimes like them, I think we don’t understand what we fully ask God. If we did, we’d probably never ask.

Jesus understood their quest. They were looking for answers:
Who is this ‘Lamb of God’? How does life go with You? What do Your words mean?
What’s so different about You? Why did John send us to You?

Jesus’ response was simple and disarming: “Come and see!” (John 1:38-39)
What an invitation!

He didn’t try to draw them with promises or convince them with arguments. He stirred their curiosity, stimulated a hunger and desire within their hearts for more. That’s what the truth will do: it’ll stir you to want more! Not make you satisfied with just a two- dimensional answer, but cause you to seek the ‘exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think’ heights… and depths!

In the natural, the more you eat and drink, the fuller you get and the less you want. However, in the spiritual realm, the opposite is true. The more you eat, the hungrier you get. Healthy babies are always hungry and thirsty; new life desires to eat, drink and take it all in! Jesus stirred that same inherent desire. In fact, those are the basic requirements of any discipleship training centre: Are you hungry and thirsty?

Proverbs 22:6 counsels parents to,
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Religion interprets this in a couple of ways.
The Jesuits paraphrased it: “Give us a child till he’s 7, and we’ll make him a Catholic for life.” Discipline by this order then becomes the means of conforming young people to their mold and image through obedience to legalistic, military-style rules and regulations. Some Evangelical Christians, on the other hand, take a rather pessimistic slant and this verse becomes more like: “Do your best as parents to instill Christian values in your children when they’re young, because in their teens they will rebel and turn from you and God; but sometime later on, if you pray hard enough, they’ll come back to their faith.”

Both of the above explanations fall far short of what I believe the Word of God here promises. First of all, ‘train up’ does not mean parents have a responsibility to raise their children under harsh discipline, breaking undesirable behaviour patterns and employing hard restrictions to conform them to their faith.
The Hebrew here means ‘to narrow, initiate, touch the palate’ and paints a very different picture: one of a mother weaning her child from breast-feeding, coaxing it to take solid food. Her toothless infant cannot yet chew its own food; commercial baby food or processing blenders were not yet available, so the mother bites off a piece of food, chews it in her own mouth first, then pushes it into and up against the roof of the baby’s mouth to ‘touch its palate’. This action stimulates the baby’s digestive juices; it hungers, swallows, feels good in its tummy and…
soon wants some more! The experience so satisfies the baby that he/she is gradually trained to eat solid food by this process of stimulating inherent desire!

As in the natural, so in the spirit. Jesus’ call touched the disciples’ palates. They desired to know more of Him and followed. The Lord began and continued His process of discipline in this way. He constantly gave them more of Himself. They took His Words to heart, drank in His Spirit and grew over the next 3½ years. Gradually, they changed from their former ‘selves’ to more resemble the One they followed. Jesus didn’t give them legalistic rules to follow; rather, He imparted His life, His very Person to them, appealing to their desire and challenging their will so they would respond to His faith and love. Peter later showed he had come to understand this manner of discipleship when he exhorted the church to spiritual growth in 1Pet 2:2:
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.”
That’s how the Lord had drawn him and taught him to walk. Though he often stumbled, he learned to call out, let God lift him up, wash him off and set him on his feet again.

Jesus calls us into an intimate personal relationship. “Follow Me!” is not a 7-step magical formula, philosophical theory or predictable program. It’s a walk, a journey through life with the Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ Himself: 1 on 1, master + disciple; pilgrims, travelers experiencing life with Him, never just spectator-tourists!
And He’s the One who takes on personal responsibility to make the necessary changes in our Identity (name, heart desires, motives) to realize our true Destiny (function, direction and destination) in Him. Frankly, when we are naturally born on the face of this earth, we have no idea of what’s involved with the air we breathe, the food we eat or the milk we drink. We simply breathe, eat and drink …and cry; those things come naturally, spontaneously! Likewise, when we are born again spiritually, Our Father has provided everything: His Life, Word and Spirit and we simply need to grow in desire and obedience to breathe, eat and drink … and sing praises in His Presence.

We need to be trained His way. We need clarity in our Identity first: who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us, before we run off to fulfill our Destiny-ministry to remake the world for Jesus! If this is not clear, we will sadly end up merely projecting and imposing our false image on others. That’s nothing but another ‘spiritualized’ form of dead religion.
Ministry is not just something you learn to do; it’s an overflow of Jesus’ presence within you.

Get filled with His fire and others will come to watch you burn!

You won’t have to come up with gimmicks and fancy entertainments to catch their attention. Be real. Too much so-called ‘ministry’ conducted by today’s North American Church ‘in the name of Jesus’ is very far removed from the Lord Himself.
It’s cloaked in manipulation, bogged down in administration, stifled in bureaucratic programs.
It lacks the Lord’s seal, His Identity, His Presence!
It presumes gifting and charisma are sufficient and does not cultivate an accompanying character to witness “It is the Lord!” Rather, it’s still a masquerading ‘Self”.
Amazingly, the world often discerns this discrepancy more readily than much of His church.

We need a greater hunger and thirst for God Himself, not just His accompanying goodies.
We need more than a new passion for Jesus; we need the Passion of Jesus!
We need His Face, not just His Hand.
Otherwise, we remain disobedient sons and daughters, no more than spoiled brats. And when we’re spoiled, we’re good for nothing: the verdict on the Laodicean church. We are no longer capable for His effective use. When we are not His Light, we do not shine. We don’t have it in us. But when we have Christ and Christ has us, the Light of the world truly shines forth from us regardless of our circumstances, in spite of the challenges, through even the darkest of times!

Jesus takes this responsibility upon Himself: He told those fishermen brothers on the shores of Galilee He would make them fishers of men. He did not expect them to know what that all meant or how to fulfill it immediately. But something in His call intrigued them. They were tired of smelly fish and wanted to touch this offered, beckoning life…
to make a difference in hearts, an eternal difference with their lives in the lives of others. Somehow whoever this stranger was, He knew them and had chosen to use them. They could refuse or follow, render excuses, continue to mend their nets and fish all night for nothing or??? exchange their fish for men!!!

Their answer was immediate: they left all and followed Jesus.
They were never again the same.

How about you? What nets are you holding on to? Let go.
His call is ever true. Let Him touch your palate.
Come and see!

PS. A few years ago, I compiled a 30-page booklet along this theme,
Jesus says, Come, Follow Me. A New Believer’s Guide to Faith in Christ.’
It’s meant to help disciples walk in the Spirit step-by-step by the Word. If you would like a copy for your own walk or to help others in theirs, please contact me at
See you on the road!

1 comment:

  1. This is the truth. I want to have deeper understanding and revelation of my identity in christ.We need deep communion with christ,deep calls unto deep.Hunger thirst and desperation is 3 key's much needed to se christ and be like christ to the world. Good stuff.