Summary: That is why the church of God must return to the preaching of the Cross. Yes, it offends. Yes, it alienates. Yes it is a stumbling block to many, and yes, it is sheer foolishness to others. But to those who believe, "It is the power of God unto salvation"
The Call To Discipleship
Imagine in your mind that you are a news reporter for station W-O-R-D in Jerusalem. You have been assigned the task of following some new religious fanatic who has appeared on the scene and seriously shaken the status quo. Not much of a Jew yourself, this whole scene seems to you to be a bit unreal.
He is so unlike the television evangelists you are used to covering. He seemed to appear out of nowhere. One day you were called to cover a wedding in Cana of Galilee and there you discovered the wine had run out, and this stranger, so without credentials according to the Sanhedrin simply turned a vase of water into wine. Just what kind of trickery it might be, you don't know for sure. One thing you do know. There is a quality about this man you've never experienced before.
He has an awesome kind of power about Him, yet He seems so humble. When He speaks, it is as though He is speaking with an authority that causes the very elements to bow in submission. Yet He is not harsh or condemning or dictatorial. Whenever He sees a child, or an invalid, or a blind man, He stops His message, (much, I must admit, to the dismay of His staff), and He goes over and picks up the child or touches the lame and the blind and they seem to be healed.
So intrigued was I with the difference in this man, that I asked the station if I could cover Him as a special feature story, the way they cover Presidential candidates in the states. I would just follow along behind Him and photograph His every move, record His every word. Surely, sooner or later, I will figure out what He's all about. Sooner or later, He'll slip, and I'll find out just what His angle is.
Since news was a bit slow these days, the station manager gave me permission, and I have been traveling beside this stranger of Galilee for months now. One day when I was there, an incredible thing happened. As He was walking with His staff, they passed a young man who had been horn blind. All of us in that area were used to seeing the lad. We knew him well. I had my tape recorder on, and I accidentally caught an interchange between this preacher and two members of His inside team. One of them asked Him "What did this guy do to deserve such a fate? Why was he born blind? Was it his fault or his parents?" Talk about a loaded question. You'll never guess what He answered. He said "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him."
Then He went over to that blind man and He spit on the ground (our TV cameras caught that one; it was our lead story that night), and He made clay out of the saliva and put the clay on the blind man's eyes. I overheard one of our crewman saying "How gross!", but I was so taken up by what He was doing, it seemed almost beautiful to me. He told the man to go to he pool of Siloam. We split our news team up at this point, and I followed the man so I could interview him.
I couldn't believe what I saw. The man went to the pool, washed his eyes, and began to shout "I can see! I can see!" I thought it must be a hoax, so l followed him. People began asking him what had happened, and he didn't really know, except that this man Jesus (the one I was telling you about) had put mud on his eyes and told him to go and wash in this pool. What a stir this thing caused. I later learned that the Pharisees had raised a ruckus and disputed this Jesus' validity, because He healed the man on the Sabbath. I've never seen those guys heal anybody anytime. Sounded a little like professional jealousy to me.
Anyway, I followed this man with even more intensity then. He kept calling the people around Him and talking to them in story form. Boy, I like those stories. I didn't always understand what He was driving at, but the simplicity of his preaching was so different from what I'd heard in the synagogue before. He didn't seem to be impressing us with His knowledge, but rather with His love. But there was no doubt about His knowledge. He seemed to possess the very wisdom of the ages.
I'll never forget that story about being the "Good Shepherd". He talked about how shepherds lay down their lives for their sheep. Then He told the people that He was "The Son of God". Boy did that stir up a hornet's nest.