Q: Do I have to go on a journey to be a disciple?
A: No, most disciples of Jesus don’t go on the kind of kingdom journey he prescribed for his followers in Luke 9.
BUT … if you want to really learn to walk as Jesus walked, you’ll go on one. There is no more direct way to learn to walk as Jesus walked than a kingdom journey.
Yes, there are many different ways to learn radical dependence on God.
You can have cancer and find yourself begging God for healing.
You can lose your job or your spouse.
You may, through no fault of your own, find yourself in a bad financial bind.
And when your world falls apart, you might find yourself praying prayers like: “Oh God, help me! I can’t do this on my own—I need you!” You pray prayers of dependence.
God is not a sadist, but he knows it will take pain to move us from our comfortable place as he invites us to a place of intimacy with him. He invites us to see he is trustworthy and powerful and cares about little old us.
1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” How did Jesus walk? He walked away from comfort and toward a life focused around meeting the needs of others, setting them free. And he literally walked—he journeyed. And as he did so, Jesus engaged in a process that forced him to depend on the Father.
He went on a three-year kingdom journey where he had to rely on God at every step along the way. No food? Better pray for your daily bread. Healing the sick? Better be connected to the Father so you can know what he’s saying. Casting out demons? You better have the authority Jesus delegated or you’ll fail.
Jesus showed us with his example that the central purpose of a kingdom journey is to force you to places of dependence.
Jesus wanted to teach his disciples to “only do what they see the Father doing.”* He himself did that, and he wanted his disciples to do the same.
How does a young, modern dsiciple learn to walk that way? In a society where 40 percent of young people grow up in a fatherless home, where cynicism is the norm, where relativism is the religion, the path Jesus walked is the way. He is the way. And he leads us down the path of a kingdom journey.