“Disciples would do what a rabbi told them to do.” John Dickerson, commenting on Matthew 28:18-20.
When Jesus said to his disciples Follow me and Go and make disciples of all nations they did. When Jesus told Peter to come to him walking on the water, he got out of the boat. When Jesus told the apostles to head into town and prepare an upper room that an unknown man would offer to them for Passover, they went.
Does anyone else besides me find that kind of immediate yes amazing? I don’t remember them asking why as much as how. What was it about their culture that made them respond so readily and completely? Even if they questioned, it seemed to be more along the way than before they left.
I’ve visited India only twice, but when I think about the culture there it seems to me that everyone prays. Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Sikh all pray. It’s a country full of praying people. When they become a follower of Jesus, prayer is not a foreign concept. Just like the disciples, the question is not why but how. Praying to Jesus, the Living and Risen Savior, is very different than any other god because it’s a relationship with Jesus. But prayer as a concept is familiar.
Does anyone else besides me find that kind of default mode to pray amazing? The stories of miracles, healing, raising the dead, favor with hostile government officials by faithful Indian Christians because of their natural-as-breathing response to pray inspires me. Many of them have been Christians only a few years, yet their simple obedience outpaces mine.
Years ago in Kenya, as more and more came to Christ it became a weekly occurrence for people to break out into prayer all at once as a song was ending. At first we missionaries tried to stop it as it seemed too disorderly and somewhat contrived. But as we observed the Maasai church leaders steward this time and the numbers kept growing, we saw it as a place God was leading them to every week. Last I knew, this was still happening on a regular basis.
Does anyone else besides me find this spontaneous outpouring of heart in prayer by nearly the entire Maasai church amazing? What is it pre-existing in their culture that prepares the way for this to happen? I have often wondered if their suppression of emotion in public for love or loss has set them up to fully express themselves when they come to Jesus. It’s the one place in their culture where they can freely express those emotions, when the church gathers to worship and pray to Jesus.
The common thread in all these stories? There was something in each culture the Holy Spirit tapped into that made their expressions of faith a natural thing for them, but to other cultures it would seem amazing. So it makes me wonder, what is it in every culture that is already there for Jesus to come in and make faith not a strange expression, but a natural thing? And to everyone else, it’s amazing.
Do you see why I love God’s global church, and why I think we should be actively engaged in many countries? We learn from each other and see God in fresh ways because what is natural to one culture is an amazing faith stretch in another. God knows how to clearly display His Spirit in every culture.
Does anybody else find this as amazing as I do?
Til next week,