Running Ahead of Jesus
As a disciple, don’t run ahead of Jesus! Let him go first.
That may include just about anything, but first of all it refers to our mission, to proclaim and to demonstrate his kingdom and to make disciples.
Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5), and I believe he meant it to be taken literally.
That’s, indeed, quite an authoritarian statement and nothing we would like to hear! Where does this leave room for my own decisions, preferences, abilities, opinion, taste, creativity…? Who would like to live in self-denial and follow a “despot” like that?
Well, most of us probably won’t. That’s why we have our own interpretations of what Jesus meant.
Our version goes somewhat like this:
Pray about a project.
Plan and start the project according to whatever feels good and seems reasonable, or what the budget allows, or whatever the situation requires or others expect.
Ask Jesus to follow that project, bless your decision and let you succeed in whatever you do. Moreover, whenever getting in trouble, ask Jesus for help, and when getting stuck, expect him to turn up and show the way out.
Isn’t this is a common way to put Jesus’ words into practice? To us it may seem close enough to what he meant, yet, it’s far away.
Jesus intended to really lead us as our Lord from the beginning to the end. This means that we follow him in whatever he has prepared. He goes first and we follow him. After all, it’s all about his projects, not ours.
He absolutely did not mean to just walk behind us protecting our stupidities, blessing our self-centred ideas, glorifying our hubris, rescuing us from our failures, and cleaning up our messes after us!
It’s not stupid at all to let him go first and lead, on the contrary, it is very wise and mature. And it’s never a waste of time to wait on him before starting any project. He has the right timing, we don’t. And waiting has always been one of his foremost tools to prepare our character for the task.
Jesus knows what it means to follow; he had been a follower himself. He never did anything on his own, but listened to the Spirit and only did what the Father had prepared for him, right timing included.
This is why we do not read about any teaching or miracle before his baptism, that is, before the Spirit started leading him. And this is why he, in turn, commanded his disciples not to do anything before Pentecost, before the Spirit would come and lead them.
Do we really think that we are so much better than Jesus that we could march ahead on our own? Not first wait on the Lord and listen? We might end up building our own kingdom with having to bear all the costs by ourselves and suffering the consequences.
Therefore, don’t run ahead of Jesus! Wait on him, then follow.