Becoming a disciple

. . . when he called his disciples, Jesus invited them to follow him, to march behind him. Later he invited them to come a little nearer, to come alongside him, to take up the same yoke. Finally, on the evening before his passion, believing that his disciples were ready to hear something still greater, Jesus began to speak to them of a bond of unsurpassable depth, not simply “behind” him, not “alongside” him, but “in” him! . . . We in him and he in us; what is this saying?

This excerpt from the third chapter of Becoming a Disciple summarizes the book, which has three chapters: Come follow me, ie behind; Come unto me — alongside; and Abide in me. Daniel presents these as three successive stages. In the first, he comments particularly on Jesus’ drawing power; where we might marvel at the would be disciples for their willingness to leave everything to follow Jesus, Daniel notes the attraction of the character of Jesus, which is his usual focus anyway. Come unto me speaks at length about taking on the yoke of Jesus, learning to work together with him, in tandem, not pulling and chaffing, but learning to harmonize with he who is gentle and lowly. The final chapter, with other issues, focuses on Christ as the vine, the sap of the vine flowing into our lives.

. . . Allowing ourselves to be loved by Christ means opening up to him, committing ourselves to him, abandoning ourselves to him in full confidence, knowing that his love is for every day and not occasional, that it is continuing, like the sap in the branch, but also hidden, unseen and even imperceptible, beyond our awareness . . . Nevertheless, even if it is more often than not unperceived, Jesus tells us there is no greater love than his . . . . . we have so many reticences, brakes, blockages and at times even refusals . . . How long it takes to become truly a disciple, fully a disciple, much longer than for a branch to be a branch! . . . [but] happy are they who know themselves loved unceasingly, day and night, infinitely! Happy are they who know that the love of Christ is fully sufficient for life, and who live by this!

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