Think back when you first accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. What was it about Jesus that made you follow Him? Was it because of a sermon pointing to Christ as the Lamb of God, as did John the Baptist in John 1:36? Or was it your reading Scripture that caused you to follow Christ? However you realized Christ was your needed Savior, when you heard the good news it only made sense to follow:
“Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37)
As a reminder, it is John the Baptist to which the above passage is referring. Many think of John the Baptist as a great baptizer, and he was. However, John was first and foremost an evangelist. He pointed sinners to the Lamb of God and they followed. Why was that? It is because they knew a great blessing would result in following the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus said as much about Himself:
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)
Following Jesus means becoming one of His disciples. It is interesting when you look up the definition of disciple. The Random House Dictionary’s first three definitions all refer to followers of Christ. The fourth definition defines disciple as “a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another.”
That is the definition we will use because it lines up with the original Greek word for disciple: mathetes. In the First Century Middle, a disciple was not only a “learner,” but also an adherent of what they learned. It meant that the pupil imitated the teacher.
This is why we are to be Christlike. If you were to become a teacher’s disciple, it meant you left your family and stayed with your teacher. It was a great honor for a son to be allowed to become the follower of a rabbi, which means “great one.” Jesus taught that if we will not forsake all for Him, then we cannot be His disciples:
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
As I look around American Christendom and at examples in my own life, I see if not a refusal, then a reluctance to “forsake all that” we have to follow Christ. Some of that may be from not understanding what Jesus meant by forsaking. However, most cases it is from wanting to fit our Christianity into our culture’s mold. This will happen if we listen to man and not to God:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’” (John 8:31)
The problem for most of us is we do not want to abide in Jesus’ word because it means we have to obey the Bible’s teachings. When we do so, we face head-on the cultural rot of our times and we don’t like being persecuted. We don’t really have a choice in the matter:
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
I don’t think I’ve ever found 1 Peter 2:21 on a refrigerator magnet or heard it on Christian radio as the power verse of the day. It should be because God the Father bestows great honor upon the one who follows Christ:
“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (John 12:26)
Everyone follows someone. Who are you following? Or perhaps I should ask, what are you following? You may be following your own selfish desires. How’s that working out for you? Even if you could answer good, explain that empty feeling you have when you lay your head on your pillow at night.
Only our Maker can fill our emptiness. Nothing on earth can replace Jesus.
Won’t you follow Him today?
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject. You can purchase Dave’s five devotional books by visiting his Amazon author page.
Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers