We often make the mistake of thinking that following Jesus is like voting for a politician. We vote for a politician because we expect them to order our world in a way that makes our lives more comfortable. We want them to work hard to make us wealthier and less threatened. When we envision Jesus in this manner, our belief centres on his advocacy for a life that is more pleasurable and secure, devoid of elements that cause pain. However, what happens when pain and disappointment arise? Has Jesus failed? In Luke 14, Jesus radically says:
33 “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
If you think that following Jesus is about gaining the good life of health and wealth, these words will likely send you into a spin.
What should we expect from Jesus if we declare him our king? Rather than viewing Jesus as a politician, it is probably better to view him as a mountain guide. Imagine being on a guided trek in the Himalayas. You are on an exposed track and far from camp when your guide spots a storm coming your way. He says to the group, “It is going to be a tough time; you might get hurt and you might have to leave some of your gear behind but, if you stick with me, I will get you home alive”. This is what we would expect from a mountain guide and what Jesus seems to promise.
Jesus wants to bring you home to a relationship with God. There will likely be storms and you may have to leave things behind, but he has promised to bring you safely home to his father. Surviving the storms that frequently rage around us is scary. Sometimes, you will not know which way is up. To get through, you might even have to give up on hopes and dreams that you have tightly clung to. While there are no promises that you will get through unscathed, there is no doubt that Jesus is a capable and resilient guide committed to leading you safely towards a life that is truly life.