Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Recently, Sarah and I have been watching a film series called The Chosen. It contains
a number of episodes retelling the accounts of Jesus’ life, which we find in the Gospels. One
thing the series does really well is to bring the characters to life. Often when we read the
biblical accounts, familiarity breeds complacency and we can think “oh that’s just Peter” or
something like that. Watching The Chosen has reminded me that each of the disciples, that
Jesus called to follow him, are ordinary human beings with lots going on in their lives. (If you
are interested in watching, here is a link to the website where you can watch it for free!
https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen). These first disciples must have been an
interesting group to watch. There was Peter who always gets over excited and either says
the wrong thing or does something foolish. There’s James and John who are also called the
Sons of Thunder, probably because they have bad tempers. Then we can also throw into the
mix, Simon the freedom fighter and Matthew the tax collector - who would have been
natural enemies - Judas the thief, Thomas the doubter, the opinionated Nathaniel and these
are just some of the twelve. We could also add to that list Nicodemus who is too scared to
acknowledge his faith, Mary whose witness no one will believe and Martha who gets all her
self-worth from working hard. As I said, this must have been an interesting group to watch
and, no wonder, sometimes we get the impression that Jesus has to be quite stern with
I wonder if any of these disciples’ foibles rings a bell with you? Perhaps you have a
character trait which makes you think that God couldn’t use you. There is a common
condition called Imposter Syndrome when a person thinks that at some point everyone will
realise that they shouldn’t be doing the particular role of job they are in. I imagine the
disciples often wondered why on earth Jesus picked them. Why didn’t he pick the scholars
and religious leaders of the day? Why did he pick fishermen, tax collectors and men and
women of questionable morals? These feelings can be dangerous because they stop us
from being bold for Jesus.
Our reading from 2 Corinthians contains a wonderful verse which speaks into our
brokenness and inability to follow Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore, if anyone is in
Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!
It’s not about who we are, but it’s about who he is. It’s about being in Christ that
brings transformation to our lives. As the disciples spent time with Jesus, following and
watching him, they gradually changed. They became more like their master and the old
things which divided them and made them insecure, started to fade. In Jesus’ presence they
found a safe place where they could learn to be obedient to his teaching.
Therefore, as you read this verse remember that if you are in Christ, you are a new
creation. The things that used to rule over you and stop you from following Jesus in a risky,
exciting way no longer have the last word. Jesus is victorious and he is calling you to
continue following him into more adventure and into more freedom.
Ben Maynard (Curate)