Method Acting vs. Role Play and the Call to Discipleship

June 21, 2017

John 18:19-27

19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

CONSIDER THIS

Let’s begin today where we ended yesterday, with Paul’s declaration of intent.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11. (NIV 1984 appx)

Jesus will always be betrayed. Jesus will always be ambushed. Jesus will always be dragged before the authorities. Jesus will always be slapped around by the officials. Jesus will always be questioned by the establishment. Jesus will always be condemned by the crowd. And yes, Jesus will always be denied by his disciples. This passion of Jesus is not the drama of a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. The names have changed, but all of these players are still on the stage.

There are many roles to be occupied and parts to be played but there is only one script for the friends of Jesus. Paul captures it in his declaration, “I want to know Christ.”

While the world around us plays its various parts, the friends of Jesus are not role playing at all. They are method actors. Method acting is not about role playing but identity formation. The method actor literally takes on the identity of the character. Reminiscent of Paul’s exhortation to “have the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus,” (see Philippians 2) method actors take on the mind of the character they are playing. As we continue this slow walk to the Cross with Jesus, let’s dwell together in this declaration until we have made it our own.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11. (NIV 1984 appx)

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, thank you for your son, Jesus, who disciples us until we share in his very character. Shatter the thin role playing exercises we have settled for and mistaken as our faith. Take us deep into the fellowship of his sufferings. Lead us to become like him in his death, that we might truly live. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

1. What do you think of this concept of method acting as a model for discipleship?

2. What might it mean for you to become like Jesus in his death at this point in your life? Where is that place of struggle right now?

3. Are you working to “rememberize” Paul’s declaration of intent? Dwell on it. Immerse yourself in it.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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