“There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and great is the difference between these two ways.”
Christians in the first century gave this directive teaching to prospective members of the Church. Two ways. Only one leads to life. It is reminiscent of other statements by Jesus.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matt. 7:13-14)
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Jn. 10:9-10)
Beholding this clear crossroads, together with its uncomplicated option, creates a tension. Didn’t I previously describe following Jesus — and leading others to the same — as a winding, confusing journey? Yes. Yet something lurks deeper than intellectual dissonance. The journey continually offers a disturbing choice. It comes in the form of a person who disrupts ‘natural’ thoughts and decisions, as a follower of Jesus discovered:
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’
Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” (Jn. 14:5-7 ESV)
Is the way of life in Jesus confusing? Yes and no. Disruptive? Certainly. He is “a stone of stumbling” and “a rock of offense.” The apostle Peter often stumbled following behind the incarnate Christ as a learner. Even after blessed by the resurrected Lord with the indwelling Spirit, he continued to stumble while leading others. Evidently the path is beyond bumpy. It’s dangerously disruptive.
Let’s conclude part two of this series on ‘training leaders’ by adding a few questions for further consideration:
What significant disruptions has God gifted you with while seeking to follow Jesus?
What did those disruptions accomplish in you as a learner of — and leader toward — Jesus?