I asked a teenage Christian what it means to follow Jesus. He said, “Well, I don’t really know, I guess you’re supposed to try to get better grades after becoming a Christian.”
…Oh. So Jesus’ life death and resurrection—the gospel—all of it was about making us new and alive in Christ so that we could get A’s and B’s instead of C’s and D’s. I get it.
The sad part is that if you were to ask around this young man’s answer probably wouldn’t be all that unique. Ask, “What are Christian’s called to do after accepting Jesus?” and you’ll probably get lots of blank stares. Umm…Go to church? Swear less? Be nice and stuff?
While we have focused loads of time, energy, and resources in the past hundred years or so on “getting people saved” we have collectively ignored anything that might come next. Looking at western Christianity one might get the impression that all Jesus wanted was a wedding. But reading God’s Word I am convinced that Jesus is not interested in a wedding unless it is the beginning of a marriage.
Put simply, we have not only been saved from something, but saved for something.
Can you imagine if Lazarus, after being raised from the dead, had gone back into his house to sit around and watch T.V.? What if he only made himself comfortable while waiting to die (again) and go to heaven? Wouldn’t this be a wasted resurrection?
This is us! Don’t we know that we have been made a new creation—that the old life is gone and a new life has come (2 Cor. 5)? Don’t we realize that we have been raised with Christ (Col. 3)? Do we really believe that out of great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Jesus (Eph. 2)? Have we forgotten that our baptism was a picture of being dead and buried, then being raised from the dead so that we may live a new life (Rom. 6)?
What do you think this new life is for? To get better grades, or as a resurrected people to follow our resurrected Lord into all the dead places of the world bringing life where despair has reigned for so long?
Jesus tells a story about a landowner who is in desperate need of workers for his vineyard. The man goes into the marketplace where he finds people standing around doing nothing. “Come work for me!” the man says to the purposeless crowd, “I’ve got lots to do!”
This is good news: we have been invited to join with God in what He is doing in the world. Which leads us to the question, “What is God doing in the world?”
More to come soon…