Sometimes I wish I was with Jesus in the flesh, like those early disciples. Think how exciting it would be!
However, if I think carefully, I don’t think I would have been that comfortable after all. They had given up everything to follow Him. They had no life of their own. They had to go along with Jesus’ plans and couldn’t really plan their own time. They couldn’t decide to look for a new mat for their house or put in a load of washing. Not that I think washing wasn’t done. I’m sure everyday life had to go on. I can’t imagine Jesus and His disciples arriving at a dinner in dirty smelly clothes and unkempt hair. And somebody had to buy groceries. And cook. And clean up afterwards.
The discomfort would not only have been doing household chores without modern appliances, but more on an emotional and personal level. I imagine that, if I made a critical comment about another disciple, or maybe only thought it, Jesus would look across at me and He’d know. I’m sure I’d find plenty that was critical to say about the others – they were a mixed group, coarse fishermen associating with a tax collector and other people I might not trust. I’d be expected to get on with them, even to love them and in time I’d probably learn to.
The disciples were with Jesus, but not in Him. As Christians, we are in Christ and Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said He would not leave his disciples as orphans but would send His Spirit to be with them. E Stanley Jones puts it thus. “The ‘with’ had to end so that the ‘in’ might begin. He withdrew His presence and gave them His omnipresence.”(In Christ 106)
I have Christ’s presence in me. If I am serious about my discipleship, I should also have given up my life to follow Him. I should also regard my time as not my own and rather follow His plans. Yes, they do include ordinary life like paying license fees, fixing broken things and partying with people. Many times God uses exactly these events to carry out His plans. He even uses the bad things like flat batteries or cancelled appointments.
All I have to do is yield to the Holy Spirit as the indwelling, risen Christ, to manifest Christ’s presence to the world. It will be uncomfortable and maybe that’s what prevents me being fully committed. I can only cast myself on His Love and cry, “Breathe on me Breath of God, till I am wholly Thine.”