“Come, follow me.”

Posted On August 21, 2009

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So a friend asked me the other day what I thought it meant when Jesus said, “come, follow me.”

For what it’s worth…here was my answer… 

 

I think that in order to follow Jesus we actually have to really give everything over to him.  I mean that literally too…all of our possessions, money, desires, needs, heart, and ourselves.  I think that for some it takes the form of actually selling off everything you own to go out and be a light in the world, like mother Teresa.  For most though, I think it means really surrendering completely to Him.  Like recognizing the blessings He has given you, but also realizing that they are worth nothing in the grand scheme of things and being totally willing at any time to walk away from all of them in order to follow him.  It’s sort of like when He asked Peter three times if he loved him.  Peter says yes all three times, but when it comes down to his own life, Peter denies Christ three times.  At that point, Peter’s love was only words deep.  He did not love with everything he was and he was not willing to give everything to follow Christ.  I think to really follow Christ we must be absolutely willing to give everything, including our life.  The thing is, it’s not like he did not set the example.  He gave up everything to come here, I mean he left heaven to come to earth to live as a carpenter’s son and then he got up on the cross and died so that we could be with Him.  I think he expects nothing more or less of us than he what He has already done.  (You really should read the Barbarian Way…it talks a lot about this.) 

 
 

I think it’s really hard to really be a follower or Christ because in order to follow Him you have to put Him above all other things and people in your life.  Nothing is yours and you have to be absolutely willing to give it all up if and when He calls.  The disciples did that when He called them.  They all had wives and families and jobs and yet when Jesus was walking down the street, saw them and called, they just walked away from it all to follow Him.  That’s what it means, I think, to follow Him.  They did not hesitate to get their things in order, they just left. 

 
 

Matthew 4

The Calling of the First Disciples

 18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20At once they left their nets and followed him.

 21Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

 
 

See where it says “at once” and “immediately”?  They just left.  They just walked away from their jobs and their families to follow Jesus.  That my friend is faith that I want to have and am praying to have.  This is where I think it is much harder to fall in love with Jesus for who He is, rather than what He does for you.  These guys had no idea what Jesus could do, other than the Old Testament prophecies, but they followed Him based on who they knew He was.  Crazy!  Crazy good though!

Matthew 16

The Rich Young Man

 16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

 17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

 18“Which ones?” the man inquired.

   Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’[d] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[e]

 20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

 21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

 22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

 23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

 26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 27Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

 28Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, 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. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother[f] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

 
 

This is where I think people get the whole “you have to sell everything to follow Jesus.”  I could be wrong, but I think the key to this passage isn’t that Jesus told the man to sell everything, it’s that the man walked away very sad.  Jesus knew the man’s heart already and he knew that this man valued his possessions above his faith.  They key is not that we have to sell everything we own to follow Him; it’s that we have to value Him above everything we own and be willing to give it all away with gladness.  It is harder for those of us with a lot to follow Jesus because stuff can make you feel happy and secure and obscures your view of Jesus, but those who have nothing; well the only thing they have to look at is Jesus. 

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