Why I Follow Jesus

29 02 2012

BY RICK MAUPIN, Council of Twelve Apostles

Apostle Rick Maupin gives a Temple School certificate to Rhoda Spence, at 91 the oldest member of the church in Jamaica.

Over the years my understandings of who Jesus is and why he came to Earth have changed. So my reasons for following him also have changed. Initially my reasons were well grounded in an understanding of a Jesus who came to save me, which I found comforting and reassuring. However, as I have continued my journey, I realize that following Jesus is not always so comfortable.

During my childhood and early adulthood, I actively participated in another faith tradition. I remember at a young age sitting in a Sunday-school class and hearing about Jesus, from Lou, our teacher. She told us that if we chose to follow Jesus, he would be there for us, and he would save us.

I wanted to follow this Jesus who had come to save me. I remember making a public profession in that church to follow Jesus and to be baptized. That profession of faith and promise to follow was prompted by more than Lou’s descriptions and the stories she shared. I was being prodded by a stirring in my heart and mind that was hard to define.

Years later, having been invited to join this faith community, I found myself again trying to define stirrings in my heart and mind. I was being invited to follow Jesus, but this Jesus seemed more challenging than the one described in Lou’s class.

I was again hearing about a Jesus of love, acceptance, and salvation, but this Jesus was also about challenging the world to realize the kingdom of God, Zion. This Jesus preached a radical message that confronted and exposed the world’s injustices.

I began to realize those stirrings in my heart and mind were not just about joining a church. They were about joining a movement that believed in following a radical Jesus into the world. Was that the kind of Jesus I wanted to follow?

Over the last few years I have had the privilege of following Jesus into many nations. In those places I have heard the call to share that radical message, which challenges injustices, heals pain, and comforts those who suffer.

I have followed Jesus into places where I saw people living in a refugee camp after war displaced them. I have followed Jesus into a cobbled-together house where a widow and her five children lived under great oppression, surrounded by abject poverty. I have followed Jesus into many communities filled with marginalized and dispossessed people.

In all those places I have heard the call of that radical message, denouncing the world’s injustices and oppression. What makes this message most radical is the hope it promotes. It is a message of hope even amid suffering.

That is why I continue to follow Jesus—because his radical message is all about hope.



3 responses

1 03 2012

Rick – having been in some of those same places like you I am appreciative of the hope the gospel brings to those that following the Christ. May the church; those in the west and locally in the economically developing world find the ways, the assertive but peaceful ways to breakdown the barriers of injustice. I join you in being for one about praxis not rhetoric.

1 03 2012
Greg Clark

Hi Ozziemal, this is Greg Clark from the Herald magazine. We’d like to be able to consider your comments for the Herald, but we need a real name and place of residence. Can you help us?

29 02 2012
RAISER William

“…this Jesus was also about challenging the world to realize the kingdom of God, Zion. This Jesus preached a radical message that confronted and exposed the world’s injustices.”

Now take the next step. One thing to recognize and to denounce injustice. The Restoration calls us to imagine and build alternative societal structures so these injustices cease to exist.

I look forward to those in Church leadership proclaiming the Restoration gospel, the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus announced and called us to express in institutional societal structures.

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