Embrace Geneva's Future: Pentecost, Trinity Sunday and Making Disciples
What Must One Do To Be A Disciple: a Reflection on Deuteronomy 30:9-14, Psalm 25:1-10, Colossians 1:1-14, and Luke 10:25-37
Really, it’s all about loving your neighbor. That’s being a disciple. Loving others demonstrates doing the good news of Jesus in words and deeds. Loving others is part of the Great Commandment instituted by Jesus. Loving others is an action of obedience. Deuteronomy 30:9-10 reads,
The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosper in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Yes, the Old Testament paves the way for Jesus to sum up and fulfill the law with his commandment to love God and love others. Obeying God leads to a good and beautiful life.
Psalm 25:10 continues the theme of leaning fully into being a disciple. It reads, “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.” God is faithful, merciful, and loving to disciples through it all, the highs, and lows we experience as disciples. Lifelong learning is key in being and becoming all that God wants us to be as disciples.
The stories of the lawyer and the Samaritan in Luke 10 ask us to recognize that we are on a journey of being and becoming a disciple. Regarding the journey of being and becoming a disciple, James A. Wallace writes, “…not just a journey from womb to tomb, but from birth to rebirth, from partial life to abundant life.” In Luke 10:25 the lawyer said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded with a question in Luke 10:26, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” The lawyer answered in Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus said to him in Luke 10:28, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” God created us to love; to love God and to love others. Love should not be limited by its recipient; its extent and quality are in the control of its giver. The lesson of being and becoming a disciple continues with the story of the good Samaritan. There was a man attacked by robbers and left for dead. First a priest and then a Levite passed the man by on the other side of the road. The priest and Levite both neglected to show mercy. It was a Samaritan who took the beaten man to an Inn, looked after his needs, and gave the innkeeper money to continue the man’s care. Despite the long, deeply intertwined, and often hostile history between Samaritans and Jews, it was the Samaritan who “did” loving the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his strength, and with all his mind; and his neighbor as himself.
We are loved by God to love God and others. Colossians 1:3-6 reads,
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.
God is present with us on our journey of leaning into being and becoming all that God desires us to be as disciples. God is present in the living of our normal lives. The light of Jesus is always present. We live the illuminating light of Jesus for others to find their way.
Enter deeply into a personal relationship with Jesus. Recover your heart. Rekindle your passion for Jesus. Claim God’s steadfast love and mercy for you. Demonstrate the grace, love, and kindness of Jesus to others. Live your individual and community-based understandings of salvation. Do the words and deeds of being and becoming a disciple.
James A. Wallace in David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, editors, Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 3 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 239. In the paragraphs of biblical interpretation above, I am grateful for the thinking and writing of Matthew Richard Schlimm, Carol J. Dempsey, OP, Donna Giver-Johnston, Linda McKinnish Bridges, John M. Buchanan, Stanley P. Saunders, and Hierald E. Osorto in Joel B. Green, Thomas G. Long, Luke A. Powery and Cynthia L. Rigby, editors, Connections, Year C, Volume 3 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2019), 143-145, 146-147, 148-150, 151-153, 153-155, 156-158, and 158-160.