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Becoming a disciple

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mark 6:12-13
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. The disciples did not believe her.

Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of the disciples while they were walking in the country. The others did not believe them either.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."

Jesus didn't hold the disciples' disbelief against them for long. He wasted little time in enlarging their lives many fold. Instead of hiding in a corner of one small territory of Rome, they were sent into every part of the world.

They went in the power of the Holy Spirit (50 days later), but also in the assurance that their Master had died and was alive again. And as Peter's sermons in the book of Acts testify, they shared these facts with great joy and great confidence.

Jesus showed himself, ate with them, made sure they touched him and felt his wounds. Their doubt disappeared in the physical presence of Jesus. He spoke with authority about their future. He promised them spiritual power: "In my name they will drive out demons, speak in new tongues ... they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well" (Mark 16:17-18)

I haven't been in Jesus' physical presence, but I know I am a spiritual descendant of the disciples. Everything available to them is also available to me. And the more time I spend in the Christian "disciplines," the more I feel the confidence and joy of the disciples. The disciplines are designed to quiet the rest of my life and focus me on being with the Lord.

The disciples spent three years, day and night, with Jesus. I can spend parts of every day for many more years than three doing much the same. Richard Foster designates twelve activities as spiritual disciplines to help me move into more of my own life with God:

The Inward Disciplines
The Outward Disciplines
The Corporate Disciplines

On some days being with Jesus comes at me like a wave on the beach. No stopping it. But on many of my days, those disciplines are essentially my way of opening the door to Jesus. Without them I'd be spending a lot of time alone.

Let me quiet my life enough, Lord, to hear your knock.

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