Dear Theophilus… Sept 2016

Dear Theophilus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJesus’ call to his disciples was to follow him. The ones we are more familiar with: Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew, all did that. They heard the call of Jesus and said ‘Yes’. They left their businesses (fishing and tax collecting) and followed Jesus.

Saying ‘Yes’ to Jesus involves a step of faith, but such a step is always rewarded by God. In Luke’s gospel the four friends take their crippled friend to Jesus and he is healed, as is a centurion’s servant, a sick woman, a leper and a blind beggar. In the same way a young girl is raised from the dead and a prostitute is forgiven. All of these either came to Jesus or were brought to Jesus in faith, and none of them was disappointed. They said ‘Yes’ to Jesus and Jesus said ‘Yes’ to them.

But not all of those that Jesus called said ‘Yes’. There is the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23) who was doing his best to live a good life, but he put his wealth above Jesus’ call to follow. He said ‘No’ to Jesus and went away sad.

What is the underlying difference between those who say ’Yes’ to Jesus, and those who say ’No’? I think it is a question of faith. Throughout the Old Testament faith is seen as the combination of hearing what God says and responding in obedience.

In the gospels it was faith that enabled Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water when Jesus called him and, on a different occasion, it was a lack of faith that caused fear to overwhelm the disciples when they were in the boat on the lake during a storm.

Faith is about saying ’Yes’ to Jesus. ’Yes’ to following him, not just at the start of our Christian journey, but also at each step of the way, whether it is in the daily routine of life, whether it is with our careers and our riches, or whether it is in the struggles and difficulties of life. Let us be people who continually say ‘Yes’ to Jesus, and who follow him in faith and obedience, and not those who say ‘No’ and go away sad.

Theophilus is the guy for whom Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) Theophilus means ‘Lover of God’ so, if you love God, it was written for you!