Monday, May 4, 2015
The Second Mark of a Disciple
The second mark of a Disciple is a Disciple is Devotional. Since we are followers of Jesus it makes sense to find out what devotions Jesus practiced, and do what he did. That is what a follower does. A follower does what the person he is following does. If Jesus loves his neighbour then so do I (one of the easier commands); if Jesus loves his enemy then so do I (one the harder commands). I found four devotional practices of Jesus. He may have had more, and I would think he did, but I could only find four. Of the four, three he practiced regularly, and the fourth he must have practiced by virtue of what he knew and said. He was devoted to Solitude – “Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of town to a lonely place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35) He was devoted to Prayer - One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1-4) He practiced regular worship at the Synagogue - Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the synagogues. (Matt 4:23) He knew the Scriptures inside out. Though we don’t see it recorded in the scriptures, before his ministry began he would have been trained as a Rabbi, (they called him Rabbi) and a Rabbi knew the Word by heart. Go deep my friends. Plant these roots deep in you. Follow him, do what he does… Read the scriptures, get to know them, open a map, know the context, and become a student of the bible. Keep on worshipping regularly, it will pay great dividends. Following Jesus is a long obedience in the same direction! Whilst Jesus went into wild and lonely places to pray, and so there has to be great method in this, I do not for a minute believe Jesus expects us all to hike off into the wilds to pray. He actually told us to do the complete contrary, ‘But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you’ (Matt 6:6). What he is saying is make a quiet time and place to pray. Be in private with God. Make the time. Lastly practice Solitude in a wild and lonely place. This one I think he meant! Go out into the wilderness (if you can) – your garden or a park will do, but go outside. The stars are perfect! And solitude is different to prayer. They are two different devotional practices Jesus used. Most of us can pray, but few of us can be alone with God in silence. All through the centuries the spiritual mothers and fathers have taught disciples of Jesus to be alone with God, silent with God. Cultivate the discipline, and don’t be afraid of what you feel and see in you when you stop to listen. We are safe in silence with God.