We see a very clear-cut request coming from Jesus on many occasions. The message is always the same – “Follow me”. We also notice many objections and answers to this simple request, and with it His response. We will look at this request today and the various responses, and find out where we are…

Firstly the people that listened.

Mark 1:16-18 (NIV) – As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Luke 5:9-11 (NIV) – For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Matthew 9:9 (NIV) – As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

John 1:43-45 (NIV) – The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

This group of people is essentially the builders of the church of Jesus on earth. Some of them became household names all over the planet, and we know a lot about them 2000 years after their lives have passed.

Some may see this as an accolade, repayment of the service that they have put into the body of Christ on earth. However, if we look at it from a purely earthly view, they were unwise to follow. Almost every single one of them died a horrible and violent death, they lived in relative poverty and were accustomed to imprisonment, beatings, being ostracized, hated, and despised. They lived lives of suffering, pain, hunger and many other uncomfortable human conditions.

And we have the people that did not follow Him…

Luke 18:22-23 (NIV) – When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

Luke 9:59-60 (NIV) – He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-58 (NIV) – As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Luke 9:61-62 (NIV) – Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

We never hear from them again. That does not mean that they lived good lives, or were surrounded by human comfort, luxury or anything we can think of. It just means that they disappeared into the background.

It does not mean that they did not take up their cross later when they came to the realization of what had transpired. It simply means that they did not fill their place in God’s story for their lives at the point where He was with them.

Then after He gathered the people He needed to fulfill His destiny, He said this…

Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV) – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV) – “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

To make 100% sure He actually articulated it clearly and explicitly…

Luke 14:25-33 (NIV) – Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

The Bible says that a large number of people left Him after He said this…

This is uncomfortable – very uncomfortable – especially if you look at it from a human perspective.

But then, following is not enough… There is more…

He provides a physical example of the behavior He expects of the followers.

John 13:12-17 (NIV) – When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Inevitably someone had to ask Jesus to his face…

Matthew 19:27-30 (NIV) – Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

From a human perspective, there was nothing gained. Not on this earth… Nothing… Only sacrifice, pain, and suffering.

But if we acknowledge that this is not just a physical request, but a spiritual one, then the second part of Matthew 19:27-30 makes a lot more sense.

If our lives on earth is a mere preparation phase for the eternal life we are facing hereafter, then temporary suffering while here on earth seems a trivial price to pay.

John 8:12 (NIV) – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

He does not say, “live in prosperity, have a great car, beautiful house, and comfortable and smooth life.”

No – they will have spiritual light, understanding, insight, foresight, they will inherit eternity in His presence.

John 11:25-26 (NIV) – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Whoever lives by believing in me will never die

I know that this is not a message you get every week, but you have to ask yourself – What is left in my life between God and me?

It changes your perception of what you are doing on this planet. You have to acknowledge that God does not have to share His plan for your life – You have to fit into His plan…

I pray the following for each of you…

Romans 15:5 (NIV) – May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,

Originally posted on - https://discoveringgod491609808.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/jesus-wasnt-kid...

Author's Bio: 

Anton van den Berg is a normal person. I have no specialized theological training but I have led a life of hard and tough lessons. Like silver, I had to be taken to the furnace to get rid of a lot of impurities. In that process, I have learned to let certain things go, and to attach to other values. These posts represent some of the pivotal growth-moments in that journey. I hope that it would assist you on your journey in some way. May God Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you.