Why Were You Sent

Learning a trade or a craft from someone requires a lot of things from the student. The student must be disciplined enough to follow instructions over and over and dedicated enough to believe in the what the master is teaching. The student must also practice for hours, days, weeks, years, to master the craft and be able to practice the necessary skills well enough to do it on their own. If the student cannot be dedicated and disciplined, they will likely fail as a student, learning the craft poorly or not at all.

Jesus talks of learning the craft of discipleship in Luke 6. He talks to the disciples about learning to be like but not greater than the teacher. He talks about seeing the student being able to see their faults before seeing the faults of others—a practice teaching humility—and he talks about good fruit having to come from good plants. These are all great lessons in and of themselves, but Jesus is using them, I think, to lead into something else, something jarring but necessary for the disciples to hear.

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do what I say?

This almost seems like common sense and in truth it should be. If Jesus is master/teacher/rabbi/lord, it seems common sensical to allow ourselves to be taught and then to follow the teaching. Unfortunately, much of Christian theology has tried to move the focus of being Jesus’ disciples toward a type of belief more interested in confessions and proclamations and less focused on learning and following the actual teachings. Why? I think the answer is simple: the teachings are hard. The teachings call us to do things that are, many times, in opposition to the way our culture has developed over the past two millennia. The teachings call us to connect with and serve the poor, the disenfranchised, the outcast, the immigrant, and the enemy. They call us to put aside self, comfort, and status, to embrace these ideals taught by Jesus. They call us to see the world in an almost upside-down way from what we are taught and see our success in life as being nearly the opposite of what many, if not most, people in our culture see it.

The fact is Jesus is only master and Lord when we not only believe but act according to his teachings—teachings that extend far beyond moral platitudes—and live as true followers of the Way. What we need, as followers of Jesus, is to either do as the master/Lord has said or renounce our claim to call him that.

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