We’re just starting a new series entitled ‘Being Human’, which is a title as vague as it is obvious. How can we not be human?
For those of us who follow Jesus, there is an underlying assumption: that being human is more than just existing. We were made for something. Maybe lots of things. It’s these things that we want to explore in our new series.
As an opening salvo, I resorted (rather predictably) to The Matrix. The end of The Matrix opens up the film from being about an individual’s struggle to understand the world and his place and purpose in it, towards a future with global consequences.
The ending of Matthew’s gospel is the same. Up to this point, Jesus has gathered friends and followers, taught them ‘The good news of the kingdom’, shown them a way of living that connects body, mind and spirit, and then offered himself as the ultimate spanner in the works, breaking the cycle of violence by taking on violence as the innocent, forgiving victim. God showed that Jesus’ sacrifice was the sacrifice by raising him from death – woohoo – and maybe the story could have ended there. But it doesn’t. The last few verses of Matthew open up the mission of Jesus to include all of us: we are to ‘make disciples.’ Thus the ending of Matthew is the beginning of what we call the church.
What that means for us as followers of Jesus is that we are called (which is a polite way of saying commanded) to continue to learn and grow, to become as fully human as we can be, and to encourage those around us to do the same. Being human isn’t a static state, but rather it is a process of constant change and growth. As we begin this series, we will explore a variety of ways to understand ourselves. But the central idea that we will circle around and return to is that Jesus calls us to be disciples making disciples.