The Christian life involves believing and following. Sometimes we put the emphasis on one or the other. To some, what is most important is what is believed about Jesus. That is the heart of the Christian faith for some. Then in light of those beliefs one chooses to follow the ethical values in the teachings of Jesus. Others choose to put the emphasis on following Jesus. The core of Christian faith is following the values, teachings, and ethics of Jesus. With the following comes trust in the way of Jesus and the love of God. Believing and following go together, but we often put the stress on one or the other.
As we remember the events of the last days of Jesus’ earthly life as they are given to us in the traditions of the gospels, the friends of Jesus seem to fall short on the following side. The stories we have talk of betrayal, desertion, and denial. One exception is the woman who anoints Jesus with oil.
So we wonder. Jesus’ friends say they believe in him, then they desert him, betray him, and deny him. They scatter in fear. They are not very loyal or devoted. Would the better way be to stay true to your friend, to be there, to be loyal and present regardless of what you believe about Jesus? Maybe you don’t believe certain things about Jesus, but you can still follow him and not betray, desert, or deny him. Believing and following. Where is the emphasis for you?
Lectionary readings for today:
Isaiah 50: 4-9a
John 13: 21-32
Prayer: We pray to be true to our intentions and loyal in our commitments. Amen.