Following Jesus in the Twenty-first Century
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Is following Jesus in the twenty-first century any different from following him in the first century? What remains the same, what are the unique challenges and differences that this era presents? These are the type of questions that we must ask both individually and as a faith community if we are to live faithfully in our generation.
Indeed, we must learn how to translate the scripture into the context of our day and situations we encounter in our daily lives so that we may both live-in and live-out of the biblical story that guides and empowers our lives. In a real sense, following Jesus means living-in and living-out of the story that begins in Genesis in the garden and ends in Revelation with the New Jerusalem. To do this, we must know the story and learn each day afresh how to indwell the story. Yet this is not enough, for we must live-out the story in the mess and confusion that is our daily lives. Following Jesus in the world is messy. There is no easy, nice neat way of doing so.
The reality is that most of the discipleship methods or programs that we have used in the church for following Jesus are sterilised, formulaic and programmatic. Consequently, they have rarely been suitable for dealing with the mess, failure and confusion that permeate our daily lives. Examine the lives of the early disciples, and we also see failure, messiness and confusion. To pretend that we are any different is unrealistic. Much of the New Testament deals with the kind of mess and messiness that we encounter daily. So, let us embrace the mess and, amid the mess, learn afresh to follow Jesus as we seek to live-in and live-out of the story that energises our lives in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.