Several factors contribute to Christianity being a global religion, but most importantly it was, from the beginning, cut free from any exclusivist Jewish thinking. The episode of Greeks wanting to meet Jesus signals this (John 12:20-22). But how many of the Christians worldwide heed the words of Jesus about following him along the path of self-giving and sacrifice? Yet without that we miss the point. “Whoever serves me must follow me,” Jesus said indicating that the way he was taking involved a dying to self-centredness and preoccupation with one’s own comfort and success. Repeatedly, we are confronted, as Jesus was in the wilderness, with the temptation to take the easy path, to have faith without cost. Of course, our salvation is free of charge. It is God’s gift. But the way of discipleship demands that we take the narrow door and not the broad and easy way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). “While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light” (John 12:36). We are tempted to draw back from such demands, but really when the Spirit of God dwells within us this is not burdensome. Love for God turns sacrifice and self-denial into joyous service. If the law of God is interiorised, become part of our basic approach to life, written on our hearts, we do not constantly have to be told what to do, or be reminded of the Jesus way of living. We delight in doing the will of God as life in the kingdom of God entails (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
- What are some of the factors that contributed to Christianity becoming a global religion?
- What do you think is meant by “becoming children of light” in John 12:35-36?
- What does Jeremiah 31:33 mean when it says,” I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts”?
- Give examples of self-denial and sacrifice being experienced as joyous service.