Following Jesus is fundamentally about living like Jesus, for Jesus, and in the power of the Spirit of Jesus. This is reflected in the first of the 7 markers in the Way of Jesus: “I have begun following Jesus and am depending on the power of the Spirit of Jesus in my journey.”
This leads quite naturally to the second marker (although the markers are not sequential – each of them are being lived out all of the time and reinforce one another like the various strands of a single rope). The second marker states: “I am being sent by Jesus to bless others and invite them to follow Him.” If we are living like Jesus and for Jesus, we must understand what is important to Jesus and what it is He is calling us to do.
Because God is love, creation itself, including the creation of mankind, is a vast act of God’s blessing, and God has blessed His creation. God also blessed mankind by walking in relationship with us and inviting us to care for, and enjoy His creation. But because of human disobedience, we are alienated from God, from His creation and from each other. Not content to leave things this way, God, in His great love, decided to restore us to His blessing. Jesus, who is God the Son, came to do this. His mission is to bless us by reconciling us to God and inviting us back into relationship with Him. His intention is that we would enjoy his blessing, fully reconciled to God, to His creation and to one another. We see this mission of reconciliation repeatedly in scripture:
For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,… His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—…
Furthermore, scripture indicates that we now participate in this mission:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
What is important to Jesus is that we are restored to a right relationship with God and consequently a right relationship with one another and with his creation, and that we enjoy his bountiful blessing.
Because we know what it is to be blessed by Jesus, we bless others and we invite others to follow Jesus so that they too, can fully enjoy God’s blessing. This work of blessing and inviting must be done in the power of the Spirit of Jesus or we risk alienating others further from God and from ourselves.
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