Friday, April 16, 2010

Follow me


“Follow me” (Mark 1:17)

Jesus spoke these words when he called his disciples. Jesus walked around and called certain men unto himself to follow him. There were no bells and whistles. There was no gift basket for joining the club. Jesus simply said, “Follow me.”

The command is no different today. Every disciple of Jesus Christ has been called to follow him. “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matt. 16:24). Here Jesus is talking to his disciples while explaining what a disciple looks like. A disciple of Christ is someone who denies self to suffer for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ. This does not make sense unless we know who Christ is. We can only know Christ through the revelation of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. Therefore when we see the command from Jesus to deny self and suffer for his name we ought to examine our lives to see whether this is true or not. We also ought to examine our motives behind our obedience. Maybe we fear hell or our parents or we want to be people pleasers. These are selfish motivations for obedience. Jesus wants us to deny self and follow him because as our Creator he knows what will bring us the greatest joy and pleasure, namely him!

Look at the response of these fishermen here in Mark 1. Jesus passes along the Sea of Galilee while these men are fishing and says, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (17). Pause for a second and think about what is happening. These men were at work doing their job as fishermen. They were probably good at their trait and loved to do it. Their work brought in money for them to live life. Then Jesus passes by saying, “Follow me” with no promise of anything else besides, “I will make you become fishers of men.” I think my first question might have been, “Does fishing for men pay more than fishing for fish?” But look at the text, “And immediately they left their nets and followed him” (18). WOW! Immediately or with no hesitation they left everything behind to follow Jesus. This wasn’t a one time deal either because the Bible goes on to talk about Jesus calling the sons of Zebebee “who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat” (19-20). These men left not only their job but also their father. Jesus demands we give him everything. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Do you hear his voice saying “Follow me”? Or are the fleeting pleasures of this world so blindingly good that you do not want to forsake them? Pray that God would soften your heart. Beg for God to give you the humility to submit to his authority. He promises that the truth will set you free. The sacrifice here will be great but the reward of an eternity at the feet of the Lamb who was slain will be so much greater. God promises that in his presence is “fullness of joy” and at his “right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Nothing on this earth can eternally compare to this promise. Jesus graciously came to live the life we could not live, die in our place and was raised for our justification. The call from this gracious Savior is: “Follow me.” Do not harden your heart but repent and trust in Christ.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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