Following Jesus on His Terms
The places where things happen in scripture can provide us with clues about the meaning of what happened. One example of this is the boat in Mark’s gospel (specifically between chapters 4-8). Things that happen in a boat or places where Jesus and his followers go in a boat tell us about Jesus’ intention for the church. There are throngs of people who want to get something from Jesus. But only a few brave souls get in the boat with him. These are the ones following Jesus on his own terms.
In the parable of the soils (Mark 4:1-20) Jesus explains that lots of people hear the word, but only a few fruitfully receive it. Only insiders get this information about interpreting this parable. And the insiders are those who have left everything to follow Jesus. They are the good soil. Those who commit to following Jesus on his terms are the fruitful soil. This begs the question, “what are Jesus’ terms?” Jesus asks people to follow, without knowing where he is leading them, or at what cost. In other words, he asks them to trust him. For those who follow God, this is not a new demand. God called Abraham, Moses, David and others to walk in unknown places because they trusted him.
So Jesus invites us to set sail with him, to embark on a journey of trust that promises to be difficult. It’s a journey that takes us to the cross, but beyond that, to God’s glorious kingdom.
Questions for Reflection
- What are the things that keep me from following Jesus fully? Is it my fear of the unknown, or competing priorities?
- If the Church is the boat, how is Jesus’ intention for church different from how I experience church?
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