We are connected, wired, in touch: via iPad, iPhone, i, i, i….and yet. Yet. Isolation lurks in the corner, waiting to throw it’s clammy cloak over our bent shoulders. Even as we stare at a screen, counting our Facebook friends, we feel alone. It does not have to be this way.
This morning I wanted to share a bit of content from my new book, Deeply Loved:“Jesus is fully present with us, no matter where we go. The question is, do we acknowledge that presence? And do we, for lack of a better term, take advantage of it? Do we fully exploit and enjoy the fact that Jesus himself is nearby, looking at us with love? How would we live if we fully embraced this incredible truth at all times? How do we gain that awareness? We can look to the example of disciples before us, beginning with the first-century laborers who dropped their nets and took off after this blue-collar rabbi they called Yeshua. Jesus made it fairly simple, at least to start. He said, “Follow me.” The word follow, diluted by our culture, begs for a biblical definition. In English, you can follow the directions (or not); you can follow a sports team (by simply reading the paper or watching TV); you can “follow your bliss” (though that might not get you beyond yourself); you can follow someone on Twitter (even if you don’t actually know them). When Jesus invited a group of first-century Jewish fishermen and political Zealots to follow him, he didn’t mean “Let’s just keep in touch.” He literally meant, “Come with me, right now.” Live as I live. Learn a way of life and faith from me by watching. And some people did, but others did not. It was hardly surprising that young men working in their father’s fishing business walked away from that. (from Deeply Loved, by Keri Wyatt Kent, Abingdon Press, 2012)
Okay, so you’re probably not a fisherman (though you may be a Zealot, of sorts). What does it mean to follow Jesus today? How do you “exploit and enjoy” the gift of Jesus’ presence?
I recently read Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, where they explained the first century practice of following rabbis. It meant just what you describe here, and what’s recorded in the gospels: people left what they were doing and lived with the rabbi, copying his words and ways so as to become like him.
That’s apparently what discipleship looked like back then. Jesus’ invitation was common in one sense, and radical in another. Common in that he was inviting the fishermen to do the same thing they saw others do with their rabbis. Radical in that no other rabbi taught his disciples what Jesus was going to teach his.
Looking forward to the book, Keri!
That book was a huge influence on my faith–it really helped me as I wrote this book, and also my Deeper into the Word: New Testament book as well.
The author has a sequel: Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, which is also great.
That sequel has been in my mental stack of books to read. I hope soon to get it into my actual bedside stack!