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Just as most Christians call themselves followers of Christ or the Christ followers, without even mentioning the name of ‘Jesus’, the name of Jesus has become slippery. Another slippery term is ‘discipleship’. The term is thrown around a lot, but I think discipleship has lost its meaning and its power, too!
It’s interesting that these two terms-‘Jesus’ and ‘discipleship’-are the first two action-steps of living a spiritually abundant life. Think about it! The most important name above all names is Jesus. A long-time, close friend of mine, was skeptical when I first started teaching the message of “Jesus plus nothing!” He was quite a successful businessman and he asked me one day, when we were moving from an organized Church format to small groups, “OK, Timmons, what’s the hook? What’s your angle you’re working here?” I told him, “There’s no angle I’m working here, no hidden agenda here at all! I really do believe that I have made my faith about all sorts of add-ons and religious baggage and missed the point of ‘just Jesus’.”
He asked me if Jesus ever made that point. It was at this question that I came to a new, now old realization. It’s the Damascus Road scene, where Paul was knocked down and blinded. Paul humbly asked: “Who are you?” This would have been a terrific time for Jesus to give Paul the answer of answers Paul was looking for his entire life. You see, Paul was the 1stChristian, in that he was a diligent follower of the Christ-the Messiah. Jesus could have said: “I am the Christ or I am the Lord Jesus Christ!” But Jesus gave Paul his personal name: “My name is Jesus!” I had found this encounter with Jesus in my own life and it had resonated deeply within me.
And, it was so counter-intuitive to my being to call myself a follower of JESUS. It was all I could do at first to say his name…JESUS! It’s so much easier to allow this amazing personal name to slip out of your vocabulary. It’s much safer to just say: “I’m a Christ-follower!” No, there are many Christs; I now am a stubborn, specific follower of Jesus…just Jesus! Don’t let the personal Jesus slip away from you….