Friday, January 23, 2009

Why did the disciples follow Jesus?

Was reading Oswald Chambers' "The Love of God" this morning with my beloved. Oswald mentions something to this effect: The first disciples weren't drawn to Jesus because they felt like they were sinners. They didn't rush to him looking for deliverance. They didn't think they were perfect but neither did they think they were in crappy shape.

Very true. Only Peter seemed aware of his sinfulness when he said, "Depart from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man." But for the most part, it was only later in Jesus ministry when the disciples got a vague idea of how sinful they were.

Well, reading this made me think about another of the reasons why so many Christian books are lacking. They seek to pull people to God by making people aware of their sins. Consider that we are to be like Jesus. What does that mean? Should people look at us and suddenly be convicted about how sinful they are? No, Jesus said, "Let men see your good works and glorify your father."

What is it about Jesus that drew the first disciples? Oswald says Jesus had a purity, a sincerity, a holiness, etc.

True. Jesus draws his own way. We don't know what it is he's doing as he draws them. We don't know what about him is drawing folks to him. But it may not at all be some conviction of sin. When I wrote Wind Follower, I didn't set out to make Loic realize his sinfulness. For one thing, sin is not imputed where there is no law. So although the whole world lay in sin, my characters didn't have the book of God's law so sin was not imputed to them. God would judge them by some other way. But what would draw them to the Creator? The Creator's love. The Creator's holiness. And --in the case of my novel-- the Creator's generosity. That was the lens through which my character (living in a world where hospitality was important) saw the Creator.

So, while it is good for people to recognize that they miss the mark with God, we Christians shouldn't go about trying to make them know their sin. We care called to make them know God. And pushing sins down their throats might have the opposite effect of making them avoid Christ (as we represent him).
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