This past Sunday, one of the pastors at our church preached a powerful and encouraging sermon from John 1:35-51 about following Christ. As I listened, I was reminded about how radically different following Jesus is compared to other things we may “follow” in life.
We may follow a sports team by watching them play and keeping up-to-date on their roster.
We may follow various people by enjoying their Instagram pictures or Twitter posts.
We may follow certain celebrities by scouring magazines for juicy bits of gossip.
We may follow particular authors or journalists that we agree with on significant issues.
We have a sense of what following means in our culture, but none of these things comes close to what Jesus means when he says, “Follow me” (John 1:43). Jesus isn’t calling us to enjoy his pithy quotes, learn fun facts about His life, or even ascribe to His various teachings on life and morality. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He is demanding that we no longer think of ourselves as the authority of our own lives and to give that position to Him alone. When Jesus says “follow me,” He is equally saying to unfollow yourself. When Jesus says, “Follow me,” He is telling us to bow to Him as Master in everything; Lord of all.
J.D. Greear illustrates it well:
Imagine if I proudly announced to my wife that during the next year I would be 95% faithful to her. Now, that is an A- at even the strictest colleges. My wife, however, would not be excited. That means out of one hundred girls I know, I plan to be sexually involved with five of them. That is not an “A-” faithfulness rating; that is wholly unfaithful.
You don’t follow Jesus like you follow someone on Twitter, where you are free to take or leave their thoughts at your leisure. Following Jesus is not letting Him come into your life to be an influence, even if it’s significant influence. Following Jesus means submitting to Him in all areas at all times regardless of whether you agree with what He says or not.
Jesus comes into our lives as “Lord,” or not at all. (Taken from Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Hearts, p. 61).
When spoken from the mouth of Christ, the two words, “Follow me,” will change everything.