Jesus Knew Disciple Making Was Counter-Cultural. Do We?
And yet, in Matthew 9:30, after Jesus healed them, He said this: “See that no one knows about this.”
Now, let's give a nod to good scholarship and acknowledge that the primary reason for this seems to be Jesus' desire for people not to misinterpret the nature of His Messia-ship, or the nature of His Kingdom rule (which, you know, they misinterpreted anyway). Or at least not to do so this early in His ministry. But I wonder if there wasn't another motivation, one that has application for us as 21st Century disciple-makers.
You see, I think Jesus understood that the atmosphere of the crowd is counter-intuitive to growing disciples.
Jesus was healing people, and teaching stuff that blew people away. Can you imagine the sights and sounds, the constant stimulus, the side conversations and arguments that surrounded this movement? It must have been a circus! But here's Jesus, shaping the lives of 12 men, and a larger group of other disciples, rocking their worlds with a crash-course in REAL religion.
The chaos of the crowd only served as a distraction to the real, slow, concentrated work of spiritual growth.
As we seek to lead our students toward a more meaningful life of follower-ship, we HAVE to realize how counter-cultural this pursuit is. Here's what I mean . . .
- Spiritual formation is slow work. Our culture demands results now.
- Becoming a real follower is one step forward two steps back kind of stuff. Our culture expects success on success.
- Bending our lives toward Christ's model means denial of self. Our culture says gratify the self at all costs!
- The soul work of growing faith IDEALLY happens in silence with nothing competing with the Spirit's work in us. But culture is multi-task friendly, stimulus rich, and data intensive.