“There’s an interesting story in Luke’s Gospel I want to point out to you,” was Stan’s opening remark one morning.
He continued, “It has to do with different groups of people who were interested in Jesus.”
“Tell me what you have in mind.”
“It’s in the sixth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus had just appointed the 12 apostles and they were coming down the mountain with Jesus.”
“In the seventeenth and eighteenth verses of that chapter, it says they were greeted by ‘a great multitude of His disciples’ and ‘a great throng of people’ who came to hear Him, be healed of their diseases, and have their unclean spirits removed.”
“So, it seems to me,” Stan continued, “that there are two distinct groups who are mentioned.”
“The first is the group of people who were already disciples of Jesus; the second is a group of the ‘great throng’ who came to get what they could for themselves.”
“It isn’t mentioned, but just like today, there was a third group that wasn’t even there.”
“What group is that?” I asked.
“That third group consists of the people who have no interest whatsoever in Jesus.”
“That disinterest can come from ignorance, having never heard of Jesus, or it can come from rejecting Him because they just consider Him irrelevant to their lives.”
“So,” Stan continued, “the really big point about this is that each person has to decide which group he or she is going to be in, be a disciple of Jesus or be a disciple of self, only interested in what Jesus can do for them, not the other way around.
“I suppose,” I added, “that the first group of those who are disciples of Jesus can be further divided into two groups.”
“I think I know your point,” Stan said, “but go ahead and tell me.”
“Just like today, disciples can be divided into two groups, those who are serious about being disciples, and those who are just sort of hanging around. It’s like what the station master told me when he encouraged me to leave the station platform and return after I have done all there is to do.”
Stan smiled and said, “You, my friend, are making great progress!”
And I smiled too.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24.
Prayer: Lord, I want only to be your disciple. You know how difficult it is for me to get myself out of your way so I will be ready to be who and what you have for me to be. I need and I ask for your help in taking up my cross, whatever the cost, and following you, wherever you want me to be. Amen.