Have you connected what most fascinates you with Christ our Lord?

Dear Friend,

Have you connected what most fascinates you with Christ our Lord? To make that connection opens you to the rewards of discipleship. To share that connection enables you to embody God’s peace for the world.

We can think of Jesus liberating the man tyrannized by the unclean spirit named “Legion.” When Jesus cast out that spirit, the man sat at Jesus’ feet to learn more as a disciple. When Jesus prepared to continue his preaching journey, the man begged “that he might be with [Jesus].” (Mark 5:18) In effect, the man begged to join the twelve apostles, whom Jesus chose to be “with him” so he could send them out to continue his mission. (Mk. 3:14) Having chosen twelve apostles to signify a renewal of the twelve tribes of Israel, Jesus did not allow his new disciple to join the apostles. Instead, Jesus said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” (Mk. 5:19) The man obeyed; “everyone was amazed,” (Mark 5:20) and the story reveals Jesus fascinating people into the kingdom of God.

When as disciples today, we tell our friends how much the Lord has done for us, we too can spread amazement; and Jesus can work fascination. When a friend tells how our Lord showed mercy in a time of loss and even raised her to new life, we can feel the joy of the man who found “treasure hidden in a field.” (Matthew 13:44) When a friend tells how our Lord trained him to love his neighbours by repairing their cars, computers, or finances, we can feel the thrill of the merchant finding “one pearl of great value.” (Mt. 13:45) Connecting with Christ in what fascinates us most and then sharing that connection—such dialogues bring the reward of discipleship, (Mt. 6:1, 4, 6, and 18) and they make for peace in our world.

In his book No Irrelevant Jesus, biblical scholar Gerhard Lohfink has a section called “Mission through Fascination.” He teaches that disciples teach Christ as the one true Lord not through “violence, indoctrination, moral pressure, [or] endless harangues;” (p. 85) instead, we study to embody God’s Teachings in a way that leads people to come to the Lord and his house expecting “that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:3) When we overflow with the fascination of discipleship, we hasten the day when

They shall not hurt or destroy
In all my holy mountain
For [because] the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9)

Love,
Joel