googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Following Jesus

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Following Jesus

In His famous calling of His disciples, Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Though He said this to His apostles, Jesus has made a similar call to everyone: “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). I've always been intrigued by Jesus' choice of the word “follow.” He didn't say, “Sit with me” or anything similar but, instead, chose the word “follow.”

To follow someone necessarily implies that the first person is moving and you are going wherever he goes. By using this word, Jesus is telling us that being a Christian isn't a static experience. Wherever Jesus intends to go, He expects us to be there with Him. He tells us this overtly in John 12:26: “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be.” After all, how can anyone claim to be a “follower” unless he actually follows?

So where is Jesus going? While on earth, the Bible says that Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 9:35). If we are to follow Jesus, this would likely be a good place to start. His command to the apostles at His ascension was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

I see too many Christians though, who are content to sit. They are like babies; week after week they sit in a Church pew waiting to be fed the word. We nurture babies when they're little because they can't do anything for themselves. As they get older, they start walking and taking care of themselves. Babies are cute but after a while, if they aren't walking or growing it's not cute anymore. If they're not growing then something's wrong. Why is it that some people have been Christians for years yet still seem to be babes in the faith? When are they going to start putting feet to their faith and start following Jesus?

I guess people have a lot of excuses for not following Jesus. In Luke 9:59, Jesus said to one disciple, “Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” In the account of the rich young ruler, Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” But we see that the man went away sorrowfully, “for he had great possessions.” Even true believers sometimes are afraid to show themselves as true believers. At the arrest of Jesus, the Bible says that Peter followed “afar off” (Luke 22:54). Joseph of Arimathea was a believer in Jesus, “but secretly for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38).

Ask yourself honestly: "Am I following or sitting"? If you aren't following then why? No excuse is adequate. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Did you see that? Believers should walk, run, and fly. It's God Who gives us the ability. We should never be sitting. We need to be following.

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