The Fourth Day of Christmas: Follow Me!

After Jesus, it’s burned into the world’s consciousness that God might have business with you, a calling that has nothing to do with the role your family and community have assigned you. But why did Jesus change that? Wasn’t it always true? 

In a sense, yes. When Jesus came, the Hebrew Bible was already chock-full of unlikely people God had business with. Amos was (by his own famous admission) “neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but a sheep-breeder and a tender of figs” – and then, for one day, God called him to be a prophet anyhow. David was a shepherd, and about as far from the throne as you could get, but he ended up there anyway. Samuel wasn’t born to the right tribe for the (Levitical) work God had for him. Gideon wasn’t born to the right family either, nor Jephthah, Moses was a bad speaker, and so on. But under the Old Covenant, those people were a small minority. They were ordinary people called to extraordinary things, and we tell their stories precisely because they stepped up to the challenge.

In the New Covenant, Jesus was a human (like we are), submitted wholly to the Holy Spirit (like we’re often not), and He calls us all: “Follow Me!” Jesus destroys the expectation that extraordinary callings will remain extraordinary. We object, of course, as God’s people — Moses and Gideon among them — have always objected to extraordinary calling. In the words of C. S. Lewis, “That long way round which Dante trod was meant/for mighty saints and mystics and not for me!” But no. Jesus speaks to us all: “Follow Me!”

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