Guest blogger: Terri Thompson

My wife has some things to say! Listen up.

Apprenticed to Jesus–Are we?
by Terri Thompson

I’ve always loved Dan’s blog title: “Apprentice 2 Jesus.”  It’s the very definition of a disciple: learning from the master, doing what we’ve learned and improving each day until one day we become a master. In our case we will continue to grow as we continue to learn until that day when we see our Master face to face and become really like him. In the meantime, we study the master, and we learn more about His character, His ways. 

Early Christians referred to themselves as disciples due to their life of following, learning and becoming like Jesus. Others, however, referred to the disciples as Christians, a derogatory term meaning, “little Christs” as if they had no mind of their own, they just followed Christ and did whatever he did. The disciples gladly embraced this term. 

As Christians today, it’s good to remind ourselves of how Jesus lived and what He taught–those things we claim to follow so closely. 

His qualities cut through and outlive every culture.

*Jesus broke racial barriers – 

    Romans 9:24 “…whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

    Mark 7:26-29 “26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered and *said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

    John 4:4 “4 And He had to pass through Samaria.” (though we know that Jews went around Samaria. They never passed through it due to their racial hatred. But Jesus was compelled to pass through there).

    John 4:7-42  “7 There *came a woman of Samaria to draw water…  39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman…” (I encourage you to read the whole story. This person would have been shunned or even hated for several reasons: she was a woman, she was a Samaritan, and she was a sinner.)

*Jesus broke cultural barriers in order to show love- 

    Matthew 11:5 “…the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (The poor were believed to have sinned and thus were not blessed by God).

    Matthew 8:3 Jesus touched a leper and healed him. “…Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 

*Jesus demonstrated love over fear

    Again Matthew 8, the healing of the leper is a good example. 

    Luke 23:34 “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (What is more fearful than a crowd of people shouting ‘Crucify him!’?)

    Matthew 26:38, 39 “38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” 39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

    Hebrews 12:1b-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

*Jesus told his disciples to expect to be hated and persecuted as he had been. But he did not say for them to hate in return or force the culture to change. He called us to love and he promised to be with us in the trials.

    Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”

    Matthew 24:9 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”

    John 15:17-19 “17 This I command you, that you love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

    John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

    Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

*We are encouraged to let love triumph over fear, and not to make decisions based on fear. 

    1 John 4:18, 19 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us.”

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

*We’re encouraged to overcome evil with good, not to bring about good results by any means necessary. Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Those are but a few examples of God’s character and Christ’s example. We are disciples of Jesus–his apprentices. Therefore, we live, vote, work, study, etc. the way Jesus would. Remember the bracelets we used to wear, “WWJD?” Indeed, we ask ourselves in every thought, word and deed, “Is this what, and how, Jesus would do this given my exact circumstance?” 

We can also ask ourselves, “Is my decision based on faith and love? Or might it be grounded in fear and doubt?”

It seems that much of the Church in the U.S. has become fearful of losing control, fearful of cultural shifts, and fearful of those who differ from our beliefs being in power. But Jesus did not call us to change the culture by gaining governmental power. Yes, we vote our conscience, but he called us to change the culture one person at a time, by loving our neighbors and praying that their hearts will change. He never guaranteed us a safe life, only a peaceful one–a peace he gives in the midst of trouble. A peace unlike anything this world has to offer. (John 14:27)

So what if Christianity loses political power in the U.S.? What if this culture becomes, or has become, contrary to our American Christian beliefs? What if our “white privilege” is challenged, or lost? What if immigrants take our jobs? What if change, serious change, in our culture and government occurs? 

Personally, I believe there is more of a chance of losing everything we try so hard to grasp when we act in an unloving way, a way that displeases our Lord. 

Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

When we grasp for political power without regard to our own ugly meanness, we risk backlash. That backlash could quickly and easily turn into real persecution. And, worst of all, we lose our testimony which could change this culture from the inside out.

So, at least individually, let’s ask ourselves:

*Do we make Jesus proud by our actions, speech and decisions?

*Do we love as we want to be loved?

*Do we recognize the potential good in those who are different from us?

Seeing the good in others as God sees the good in us, even before we’ve lived it out, while it’s just in the ‘potential’ stage? (God placed that good in each of us–and in them).

*Do we forgive when we are wronged?

*Are our hearts broken by the suffering of others? (Or do we try to distance & insulate ourselves from those who suffer and from their suffering?)

Here’s a well-done re-telling of the Good Samaritan: CLICK HERE

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