Why would Jesus save me from Hell? That’s easy: most believers understand his infinite and sacrificial love on behalf of everyone in need. Pastors and church leaders present this picture of Jesus again and again. “Even if you were the only sinner in history,” they proclaim, “Jesus would have died for you.” But here’s a question most Christians fail to ask: Why would Jesus want to disciple me? We are comfortable with our need of a Savior; we are less comfortable with his vision for our lives. Any unworthy fool can receive his mercy; believing that he trusts us is another matter entirely.
The truth is, Jesus wants to place his trust in us. Jesus selected the most unlikely people to train as disciples: working-class fishermen, turn-coat tax collectors, members of the armed resistance against Rome. After three years of intensive training, his followers scattered at the hour of his greatest need, and hid behind locked doors after his death. The best disciple-maker in history left behind a decidedly rag-tag group! Yet Jesus had confidence in these very men. After his resurrection Jesus gathered these eleven fearful and scattered men and, under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, set them loose to turn the world upside down. Jesus saw each one as pre-selected by the Father's grace and fully capable of Godly potential. (see John 17: 6 - 11)
Today’s Memo is addressed not only to individual believers, but also to a second group of people: pastors and church leaders. Do we believe in our congregation as much as Jesus believed in his? When pastors lack vision for their people the result is lowered expectations, dumbed-down preaching and a general chaplaincy that considers victorious Christian living a pipe dream. The lesson of Jesus the disciple-maker should be clear: even if individual Christians do not have confidence in their identity in Christ, at least their leaders should.
What would happen if pastors and leaders began to operate from the conviction that it is possible to reproduce the character and power of Jesus in his followers? Jesus apparently held that idea:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. (John 14: 12 - 13)