October/November 2014 - Vol. 76
disciples of Jesus
A Scriptural Journey with the Followers of Jesus

by Jeanne Kun

“May I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, now and forever.”


This famous prayer of St. Richard Chicester expresses the ardent desire of every disciple of Christ. Each day, we want to grow in our knowledge and love of the Lord and in our commitment to follow him. My Lord and My God! A Scriptural Journey with the Followers of Jesus was written with that goal in mind. We can better follow Jesus when we get to know the men and women who were his first followers. By reflecting on Jesus’ encounters with his disciples, we will come to a deeper understanding of our Lord. And, as our knowledge of Jesus increases, so will our love for him and our desire to give our lives each day entirely to him.


 My Lord and My God! A Scriptural Journey with the Followers of Jesus is designed to help readers learn to carefully examine the gospels. As we become more attentive and alert to every word and detail written by the evangelists, Jesus and his followers come into sharper focus before our eyes. And as we meditate upon the disciples featured in the ten reflections in this book—among them Simon Peter, Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus, Mary of Bethany, Joseph of Arimathea, and Thomas—we’ll discover just how diverse the face of discipleship is. In fact, we’ll also find our own faces reflected there.


Meeting Jesus and His Followers

Much about Jesus’ character is revealed to us in the ways he responded to the people and events in his life. There are so many clues: his words as well as his silences; what he did as well as what he refrained from doing; the actions he praised as well as those he criticized. He taught, healed, affirmed, challenged, and convicted the people he met, calling everyone to a deep transformation of life. These men and women, whether they were rich or poor, learned or simple, esteemed or lowly, Jew or Gentile, related to Jesus in ways that can help us to examine ourselves and our own interactions with our Lord.


As you reflect on each gospel scene, try to get inside the characters yourself. Put yourself in the shoes (or sandals!) of those who encountered Jesus and imagine yourself in the scene. Accompany the woman with the hemorrhage as she pressed through the crowd to reach Jesus and bring him your own needs. Join Mary of Bethany at Jesus’ feet and listen to his words to you. Play the role of Judas in your own imagination and realize how close each of us is to succumbing to temptation and betrayal. Go with Mary Magdalene to the garden tomb in her grief and rejoice with her as you, too, encounter the risen Lord there. Like Thomas, stretch out your hand to touch Jesus and, with deepened faith, exclaim “My Lord and my God!” Or ask yourself where you fit in a particular scene, and which person you identify with right now in your life. As St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, advised:


Make it a habit to mingle frequently with the characters who appear in the New Testament. . . . My advice is that, in your prayer, you actually take part in the different scenes of the Gospel, as one more among the people present. . . .


It is not a matter of just thinking about Jesus, of recalling some
scenes of his life. We must be completely involved and play a part in his life. We must follow him as closely as Mary his Mother did, as closely as the first twelve, the holy women, the crowds that pressed about him. If we do this without holding back, Christ's words will enter deep into our soul and will really change us.


The men and women who came to Jesus with faith, hope, and love, with needs, weaknesses, and sins, provide a mirror for us. We can see ourselves in their devotion and courage as well as in their anxieties and cares. Look into this mirror and allow God’s Spirit to transform you.

“My Lord and my God!” Since Thomas first exclaimed these words twenty centuries ago, millions of men and women have come to meet the risen Lord and repeat this profound profession of faith in him. I pray that My Lord and My God! A Scriptural Journey with the Followers of Jesus will help each of us make this proclamation our own.

> See also Zacchaeus’ Encounter with Jesus, by Jeanne Kun

[Jeanne Kun is a noted author and a senior woman leader in the Word of Life Community, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. This article is excerpted from My Lord and My God: A Scriptural Journey with the Followers of Jesus by Jeanne Kun (Copyright © 2004 by The Word Among Us Press). Used with permission.]

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