Conditions of Discipleship
Mark 8:34 – 9:1
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."
The followers of Jesus are called disciples. Discipleship is a gift. “You did not choose me, but I have chosen you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.”
The New Testament is the book of the first disciples of Jesus, of how they received their call, how they understood it and how they lived it out in practice.
Everyone is called. We come as we are. What is on offer is a new life rooted in that of Jesus: “I am the way the truth and the life.”
While we come as we are, the call is exacting. It involves a turning away from sin and a turning towards God. ‘Repent and believe.’ A transformation, that is hesitant, stumbling, and gradual for most, living in dependence on God.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house…I am now going to prepare a place for you…” John 14:1. This is the promise.
The invitation is to a personal relationship with Jesus. Formed by his word, it is the person of Jesus that gives meaning to the relationship. We are invited to friendship, companionship with Him. A personal relationship with Jesus is the only true foundation for a life that is called Christian. “If you love me you will keep my word and the Father and I will come and make our home with you.”
We are restored to friendship when we fail, through prayer and sacrament.
Growing to friendship with Jesus is the beginning of a growing together as a community and the Church is the gathering of all who believe. Friendship with Jesus involves friendship with all who are called. A painful experience at times. Think of the first disciples and the friction as they learned to cope with personal ambition and jealousy. Mrs Zebedee’s sons want the first place. Mt 20. The others are indignant.
The call to discipleship is not just to friendship with Jesus and with all who are called. The call is to “go and bear fruit” and bear witness to him.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries