I am posting
thoughts on Bonhoeffer’s book on discipleship.  Today we look at the introduction.  Bonhoeffer starts out by reminding us of the hunger for Jesus.  He
remarks that the church has overlaid the message of Jesus with “… so much human
ballast – burdensome rules and regulations, false hopes and consolations – that
it has become extremely difficult to make a genuine decision for Christ.

He reminds us of
our “favourite interpretations” and challenges us,

“It is no use
taking refuge in abstract discussion, or trying to make excuses, so let us get
back to the Scriptures, to the Word and call of Jesus Christ himself.”

This is one of
the biggest challenges for me. 
Living my Christ-life in the realities of my life in a way that moves in real life,
that follows Jesus.  I love
knowledge devoid of embodiment and can easily fall into abstraction.  Developing a life wherein I allow Christ to address me is
the invitation.  Asking personal
questions help.

What is Jesus
saying to me?

How am I responding
in my actual life?

What excuses am
I making?

In the
introduction Bonhoeffer makes a statement that shows the intent of where he
will be going in this book.  He
says that those who submit completely to Jesus’ call will find it easy to
follow Him.  Conversely he states

“The command of
Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it”.

In what areas of
my life am I resisting Jesus?

Dietrich reminds
us that Jesus’ commandment are supplemented with the strength to perform them,

“His commandments
never seek to destroy life, but to foster, strengthen and heal it.”

Do I really
believe that Jesus means me no harm?

Do I believe that
his commandments will heal me?

At the ending of
the introduction Bonhoeffer (I will shorten his name to DB from now on)
explores the content of discipleship and the way in which he explains it is
very refreshing to me.  How would
my/your discipleship look?  DB says
he has no idea! The content is defined by a person walking a unique journey with us.

“And if we answer
the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings
will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he
knows the answer.  Only Jesus
Christ, who bids us to follow him, knows the journey’s end.  But we do know that it will be a road
of boundless mercy.  Discipleship
means joy.”

The last sentence
shows what I meant in the previous post. DB focused on the joy of the journey
that is directed by Jesus.  The
Jesus we trust with our eternal life and our today life. DB encourages us,

“May God grant us
joy as we strive earnestly to follow the way of discipleship”.