“Take up your bed and walk” (John 5.8). “Do you want to be made whole” (John 5.6)? “Where are your accusers” (John 8.10)? Jesus demonstrates time and again that our faith is to be engaged, pondered, questioned.
Jesus requires buy in. We are not simply called to follow his instructions, and this is not discipleship by the numbers. It is not so simple, but our walk is messier than that. No straight lines. There will be twists and turns, which will require our vigilance and our voice. But, no singing, “Jesus take the wheel.”
No, this life with Christ requires participation. While all power is in his hands, we must do our fair share. The work of his cross is finished but the work of our own salvation is still to be done (Philippians 2.12). There is a cross for each of us to bear. Walking with Christ, it is the only thing that he commands us to carry: “Take up your cross and follow me” (Matthew 16.24).
Consequently, his message is not, “Sit back, relax and leave the dying to me.” Every inch of Christ’s life is to be followed with ours. When he asks us to follow him, he means everywhere and in all things. To be sure, this will not be three steps to successful living, seven steps to life without strife or twelve steps to a temptation- free faith. It simply does not work like this.
But, if we follow him to the cross, then we will meet him in the resurrection.
This is the call to his members, the body of Christ, his empowered congregation. We need not grow weary in well- doing as his nail- scarred hands testify of the importance of our charge. We put out hands together in prayer, in praise and in participation with his service to others—because he put his hands down, surrendered divinity to our cruel humanity.
It seems silly for us to lose the battle with our covers, fighting sleep and giving in to Sunday morning slumber when Jesus managed to get loose of grave clothes to get up from the grave. To us he says, “Get up from your bed and witness!” “Do you want to be reconciled to each other?” “Where are your neighbors?”
Jesus asks us these questions—because we have the answer. We are not a people without hope. And how can we be as we pray, “Thy kingdom come?” But, we are also not a people without strength. We have the empowering Christ.