What does it mean to be disciples of Jesus? (Second part)

According  to Luke, how does one enter the journey of discipleship? [ … ] First, the point at which one has joined the journey is not always clear in Luke. In some cases a clear “call to discipleship” and/or conversion is offered (e.g., 5:1-11), but in others persons previously unknown to us respond as though they have already been on the journey (e.g., 7:1-10; 36-50; 8:43-48).

No doubt, part of this ambiguity arises from the very boundaries between “us” and “them” that Jesus works to dissolve. How could a Gentile centurion or an unclean woman already have begun to orient life around the way of the Lord? According to normal conventions, the very conventions Jesus works to overturn, such people are by definition far from the “way of Lord”.

Second, no two encounters with Jesus are exactly the same; Luke has not taken it upon himself to smooth his various accounts of disciple-calling into a standard format. This is the beauty of “story” – its ability to present with realism something of the ambiguity of live as it is lived, its capacity to show the rich interrelatedness of forces that shape human experience in concrete situations. This is also the challenge of “story”, for this type of communication works against systematic treatment. What we can do, then, is articulate a number of recruiting motifs that are suggestive of how one becomes active in the way of discepleship.” (From Joel B. Green, The Theology of the Gospel of Luk, Cambridge 1995, pp. 105-106) (to be continued)

Simone Venturini


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