Tuesday, May 3, 2011

From Disciple (3) to Apostle (4)

Station #3: The risen Lord appears to Mary Magdalene.

Station #4: Mary Magdalene proclaims the resurrection to the Apostles.

When she [Mary Magdalene] had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing [there], and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and [that] He had said these things to her. John 20:14-18, NASB

The transformation from discipleship to apostleship is a movement we can all too easily side-bar. One of the underlying themes in the New Testament is the story of how the scattered and terrified followers (disciples) become martyrs (witnesses). Here, in stations 3 and 4, Mary Magdalene is "sent out" in order to witness to the resurrection. In effect, she becomes an "apostle to the Apostles." Jesus called her by name and gives her the ears of faith to hear it. She "knew his voice." Recall John 10:2-5.

What would it mean for me to hear Jesus' voice, sending me out as an apostle, bearing and being light to others? As Mary is apostle-ed to give her unique personal witness to the light, so we are sent out to share and to witness. Even to the ungrateful and unappreciative. We, too, are invited, and commissioned, to be more than followers.

If we choose to be disciples, we are chosen and made to be apostles, by the living Christ! (John 15:15) Why? Because we, by God's love and grace, will know and connect with people that no one else will even notice. That's a wonderful gift! Yes, discipleship is easier to measure, control, and to have on our terms. It fits our categories for doing stuff, our way. In apostleship, we surrender free choice, as well as personal preference. Don't take my word. Ask Peter, the poster child of the random impulse. (John 21:18)

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