Followership: An Emerging Reality

If Jesus was indeed identifying himself with the Eastern understanding of Reality of “way” in somewhat the same manner that the Western mind understood it as “word,” then the disciples must have been utterly amazed and greatly encouraged.

This makes Peter’s declaration, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” all the more powerful, because it means they were beginning to grasp the universal significance of this.  They were indeed following the One, Whom to know is everlasting life—for the whole world.

But Sweet points out that Jesus’ use of the term “way” means that there is an unfolding, a journey, a pilgrimage—not something that emerges completely and instantly (p. 65).  This would take Spirit-assisted empowerment and enlightening, but Jesus knew this was just around the corner, and he even spoke about it with the disciples before he ascended into heaven.

So, as we place ourselves on the way, “through birth entry into the human and rebirth entry into the divine” (p. 65), we begin to experience the increasing insight into who Jesus was (is) and the transforming implications that result.  To be “on the way” is not to be thinking of destinations, but rather of discoveries—of movements from one degree of glory to another, until (in heaven) we attain to the full measure of the stature of Christ.

Until then….the key word is….ADVENTURE.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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