The stories between Christmas and Easter often seem overlooked, less important even. They are filler between holidays, but I’ve come to believe that the filler is the main thing. The filler is the ministry, the Gospel of Jesus.
For many years, I was one who believed that “knowing Jesus” meant knowing that Jesus died for my sins so I could go to heaven. That was all I needed to know – Easter. But let’s consider the ramifications of that mindset: it was purely transactional and implied that I didn’t really need to know anything else. The parables, the miracles, the teachings, and conversations were all secondary and, in a sense, irrelevant. It was only when confronted with the idea of discipleship that I began to really consider that there must be something I was missing.
Discipleship has little to do with being saved for eternity, or going to heaven when we die. Discipleship is almost entirely about becoming more like Jesus in this life; seeking to make earth more like heaven.
Early in my quest to understand discipleship, I read somewhere that if the only reason Jesus came was to die for our sins, there was no need to flee to Egypt. Jesus could have been martyred as an infant during the “massacre of innocents” and as the Son of God would still have atoned for our sins.
Or, if we believe that Jesus had to be willingly put to death, he didn’t have to do much else. The plot to kill him was underway early enough on, but why? Why was there a plot to kill him? What was he doing that was so awful? Why was he such a threat?
The answer to that is in the parts that seemed irrelevant: the parables, the miracles, the teachings, and conversations. Those were revolutionary.
They didn’t plot to kill him because they were afraid he would start a revolt in the future, but because his entire ministry was a revolt. Who did he think he was? By whose authority did he say and do these things? What was he trying to accomplish? What was his mission? He told the people what his mission was when he stood up in the synagogue and read from the scroll of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Did they cheer him? No, they ran him out of town. He read this statement at the beginning of his ministry, then proceeded to carry it out. That’s what Jesus is all about. That’s what being a follower of Jesus, a Christian, is all about. It’s about the stuff between Christmas and Easter. It’s about the parables, the miracles, the teachings, and conversations.
It’s not just about going to heaven; it’s about joining the revolution. It’s not a political revolution, Jesus rejected that and overcame that temptation.
Read Luke 4.
- When have you seen Jesus thirsty and given him something to drink?
- When have you seen Jesus hungry and given him something to eat?
- When have you seen Jesus a stranger, an outcast and welcomed him in?
- When have you seen Jesus lonely and afraid and given him comfort?
- Have you joined the revolution?