Jesus and his disciples are on Peter’s front porch after dinner. Bumper, Jesus’ dog is sitting licking Jesus’ feet. Andrew is scratching the dog’s ears. The rest of the disciples are lounging around and Judas is annoying everyone with his cigar.
Matthew: Lord, which of us follows you best?
Matthew: What? He’s just a mutt.
Jesus: You should love me like Bumper loves me.
Nathaniel: Dogs are unclean.
Jesus: Yep. They’re pitiful. Bumper thinks cat pooh is wonderful. Absolutely hopeless. To love him I have to overlook his nature. However, he’s happy with anything I give him. He’ll even try turnips if they’re from me.
Andrew (quits scratching Bumper and looks at his fingers): So, he’s unclean and that’s okay?
Jesus: It’s the tension again — the truth is brutal and grace is kind. Bumper is a mess and I love him. He follows me everywhere and is happy with everything but my absence. He’ll walk beside me all day just to have the chance to lick my (unclean) feet. I say, ‘Bumper come,’ he comes, ‘Bumper go,’ he goes. I say, ‘Bumper stay,’ and he’ll sit waiting for me indefinitely.
Peter (he raises his hand and Jesus nods): So, when you asked us to ‘follow,’ you were thinking about dogs?
Jesus: Well, sort of. Remember when I told you the ‘come as a child’ thing? It’s like that. Bumper is pure dog. He lives for me. His happiness is me. Remember the scribe who was arguing with me and grabbed my robe at the bus stop past Nazareth, near Sephora, where my Aunt Anne lives? Bumper was on…hackles up, growling and all that. Bumper processes HIS life through MY perspective.
John: Woohoo! So, you DO want us as bodyguards! I knew it!
Jesus (holding up his hand): Uhm, no. If you’ll remember, I told Bumper to sit and shake hands with the scribe, which he did, though the scribe declined.
They all laugh.
Judas (blowing smoke rings): Bumper is a good dog. He sleeps at your feet, eats anything, obeys, is house broken and even herds sheep. We could rent him to shepherds.
Jesus: Yeah, Judas, he’s a good dog. Bumper would die for me. But, here’s the important thing: Bumper is just a beast that’d be nothing without a master. When I named him, I CREATED him. I gave him an identity. He finds meaning and purpose through me, his master, who loves him. Bumper is completed by me. When your life is me, you will be the most you that you can be. I’ve come to give you life and give it completely.
Tr8: You ARE defined by your master. Choose Christ as your master. You become you when you are known by Jesus.