We conclude our four-week worship series, Leadership | Follow Me, this Sunday. The series has invited reflection on the current cultural focus on Leadership and the call of Christians to Followership.
We will focus this week on the Jesus paradox, “Christians lead by following” as we return to the Gospel of Mark and read a passage in which Jesus heals a man with leprosy. You may read the passage here: Mark 1. 40-45
“The man’s ailment likely required him to live away from populated areas and to avoid contact with others. Doing so would help lessen people’s fears of contamination. In the eyes of any who presumed that the man somehow did something to deserve his pitiable condition, as a curse or punishment, such a lifestyle would be fitting. In any case, it probably doomed him to a life of poverty, loneliness and the focus of others’ contempt.Jesus removes the disease; even better, the man is ‘made clean.’ This language suggests more than just the absence of an illness. It’s restoration. The man can now regain acceptability; he can return to society and interact with others…. Notice what happens when the story ends. The cleansed man, violating Jesus’ instructions to keep a discreet silence about what happened, instead broadcasts the news. As a result, interest in Jesus becomes so intense that he can ‘no longer go into a town openly.’ As one translation puts it, he must inhabit ‘lonely places,’ outside of population centers.” (from the online commentary by Matthew Skinner, author of Conflict, Power and Identity in the NT
) In this way, again, we see that Jesus leads by following. While Jesus may have had “other plans” for his day, he abandons his schedule and tends to the person in front of him. Might this be because Jesus is most interested in healing and expressing compassion and love for those in need as opposed to winning converts, increasing his numbers, boosting his personality and making himself or those he has healed into local celebrities? Leonard Sweet writes: “Jesus calls for us to think about the questions and to creatively engage in being in the world with him. The Creator of all things is still creating, continually molding us into better and better followers…The recipe for life with Jesus involves being willing to adapt and apply his life and his parables to an everchanging and multifaceted world.” (from I am a Follower pg. 222)
What are the ingredients for YOUR “Recipe for life with Jesus” ? What adaptations are you willing to make? What changes in your daily life have occurred recently as you seek to grow in faith? Where are you on your journey of Followership?