Today we focus on being called by Jesus Christ. A few key elements will receive special attention.
Called by Jesus.
The call to Christian discipleship is not simply a call from someone who has hit upon a good idea and invites other people to learn about that idea, and who then decides to help promote it. When Jesus calls people to be his disciples, the call deals primarily with attachment to his person.
Typical students enroll in a program, take a predetermined number of courses usually for a set amount of time, and graduate with a diploma or a certificate as proof that they have successfully completed their program of study. For all practical purposes, this approach to education has worked well. Pilots safely fly their planes to their destinations most of the time, doctors perform their medical duties without creating too many big complications, and teachers teach well enough to produce people of reasonable competence for society.
Discipleship characterizes one element in a relationship. Normally, it establishes the intellectual dependence of a student on a teacher. The primary objective of the disciple is to learn. The teacher may teach by passing out information, or by dispensing wisdom. In other words, what is transmitted from one to the other in the relationship may be information: facts, formulas, and so forth, or habits of mind that make possible discriminations, evaluations, judgments. Dispensing wisdom, the teacher serves as an exemplar in the use of knowledge, rather than as a depository of it.
Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ took the world by storm, big time. I did not see it, preferring not to want a gory Hollywoodized spectacular to get imprinted on my mind. The response wherever shown, however, may have exceeded even Gibson’s expectationsthe gripping focus on suffering, brutality, and human madness.
The Lesson Study Guide presents this statement for Wednesday December 26:
Clearly, something much more was happening here than just the death, however unfairly, of an innocent man. According to Scripture, God's wrath against sin, our sin, was poured out upon Jesus. Jesus on the cross suffered not sinful humanity's unjust wrath but a righteous God's righteous indignation against sin, the sins of the whole world. As such, Jesus suffered something deeper, darker, and more painful than any human being could ever know or experience.
Christians often spend much of their time wishing and trying to manipulate God. We do not always do this in the most obvious of ways, but sometimes the less visible is the more insidious. Perhaps we believe that if we could sacrifice something dear to us, God might grant us God’s favor. Instead of treating the blessings that God has given us as blessings, we think that God wishes us to give up something in order to prove just how far we are willing to go in God’s service.
The Sabbath School Quarterly lesson for this week comments on the December 8 Saturday introductory commentary:
Scientists did an experiment with four-year-old children and marshmallows. Each child was told by a scientist that they could have a marshmallow; however, if the child waited until the scientist returned from an errand, they would be given two. Some of the children stuffed the marshmallow into their mouths the moment the scientist left; others waited. The differences were noted.
She sat there in her freshman Bible class and wept. The Bible teacher had just insisted that whatever occurs is God’s will. Glory comes to God through whatever happens, even evil. She wept because her mother had brain cancer. A world where God willed such things for his glory, for the purpose of exalting his own name, perplexed and eluded her. My daughter, a classmate, came home bewildered. This kind of a God troubled her as well. As she understood God, he does not act this way.