“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:16, 17 ESV)
One of the adult summer Sunday School classes is watching a new set of “That the World May Know” videos. The first one in the series tells about the culture of discipleship that already existed when Jesus began to teach in Galilee. Those with the aptitude to advance in their education would ask to follow and study under the rabbi they wanted to emulate. Sometimes he would say yes, but most often he would say no. In contrast, Jesus chose his disciples, as he reminded them in John 15.
There are lots of lessons to learn from Jesus’ model of discipleship (and there are lots of good lessons in the video), but what struck me was how different it was from the way we like to do these things. I believe we are wired to want to follow somebody. But, we want to pick who we will follow. We find a teacher or preacher or author we admire and try to build our faith on that. Unfortunately, this usually leads to disappointment, division, and maybe even disaster.
Paul had to reprimand the Corinthians (in 1 Cor. 1:10-17) for arguing about who to follow: Paul or Peter or Apollos or Christ. He reminded them that Christ is not divided and they shouldn’t be either. In John 15, Jesus told the disciples that he chose them and that they were to love one another.
There are many fine teachers and writers we can learn from. But only Christ was crucified for our sins. Only Christ has chosen us so that we will bear fruit for him. So we should follow only Christ.