In the Story God says, “This is my Beloved Son, listen to him”. So often though, rather than listen to Jesus, we tell him what we want him to say, and this is what we listen to: a Jesus who thinks just as we do, doesn’t like the same people we don’t like, agrees with is on pretty much everything. In other words we create our own image of Jesus to believe in. Since this Jesus agrees with us, we just assume that we are right, and any who don’t think the way we do are, by definition, wrong.
We are surrounded by this sort of thing these days. Look at how many people say the way they see Jesus is the only correct way for everybody everywhere all the time. Then there are the clergy who say that anybody who votes in a certain way is going to hell, as are any who are of certain life styles or marriage status — always, of course in the name of Jesus who shared his Father’s love with everybody, especially those who were on the wrong side of the religion system in his day.
Jesus taught and lived his Father’s unconditional love for everybody. We feel threatened by that, so, throughout history, we have imposed, often violently, conditions and standards that Jesus condemned in his day. We need a sense of control, so we create standards, develop approved terminology and beliefs, and establish behavior codes that we expect Jesus to follow, even though he opposed them in his own day.To spread Jesus’ message of his Father’s unconditional love, we have, and in many ways still do, used violence in its many forms, always, we say, in Jesus’ name. If he knew these people, his Father’s creations, as we do, this Jesus would do the same. We seem to feel that we have to protect God from God’s own creation.
We would prefer to keep Jesus as an idea rather than be open to knowing Jesus as an experience that transcends all that we think important. Following this Jesus becomes for us a matter of performance rather than transformation.
The basic responsibility of any who would be truly a disciple of Jesus is to be open to the Spirit who offers conversion, constant growth, and helps us change where we look for our happiness. Jesus said, “I will the Spirit who will remind you of everything I taught you”. When we choose to be open to Her, the Spirit shows us what it means for us to be a disciple of Jesus in our own life circumstances. It is a journey we have to make for ourselves, and nobody can do it for us.