Because I really ought to have an answer to the question “Why…?” I’m going to try and write some. Because there are always going to be several answers.
And a colleague recently said someone asked him this question. And I have detected a tendency among some of us to start using weird phrases like “following God” because “following Jesus” sounds a little cheesy/fanatical. Even though a moment’s thought is more than enough to realise that “following God” is just an impossibility…
Why follow God?
Thank you for your question. But it’s not God we follow – it’s Jesus.
This person who asks awkward questions. Tells stories about seeds and trees, pearls and pigs.
The provocative conversation-bomber.
The one who sees. Sees that this bent over woman is not a bent over woman but a Daughter of Abraham, an inheritor of blessing and a blessing to others.
The one who seems to contain within his skin some kind of explosive power, that can’t help leach out even when he’s trying to hold it in.
Power that turns water into wine – joyful power.
Power that heals – restorative power.
Power that sometimes seems to disappear – inexplicable, vanishing power. Just as he disappears, through the crowd, into the night, up a mountain, into the light.
The one who also seems to hold all the pain of the world inside him. Who weeps at the sight of a city he loves. Who weeps at the sight of a grave of his friend. Who dies abandoned by God – the one he has devoted his life to.
The one who tells old stories in new ways. Who says you don’t have to pretend your past never happened but you don’t have to be trapped by it either. In the turning you will discover a new way.
Encounters with him make everything possible. Make people change their ways. Make lazy people get up. Make overactive people sit down. Make powerful people shut up. Make arrogant people back off. Make hated people feel included. Make little people feel tall. Make gossiped-about people feel vindicated. Make comfortable people question the nature of their God.
Why follow him?
Because of the possibility I might be healed too. Because his way of life seems exciting. Because his way of life seems just mad enough to work.
Because when you think you’ve got a handle on him, he comes up with another awkward question.
In the end, there’s just something about him.
H/t Barry Hingston for the idea of Jesus lobbing bombs into conversations.