Pastoral Perspectives

Have You Followed Jesus?

A thought-provoking question!  Have I truly asked myself this question?  From this question, many other questions follow.  What does it mean to follow Jesus?  Do I understand what is involved when I decide to follow Jesus?  Do I understand what are the commitments involved when I follow Jesus?  Did Jesus’ disciples know what were involved when they heeded the call to follow Jesus?  I believe they did know but not in totality.  As you follow Jesus, more things are gradually shown to you as to your involvement in following Him.  In regards to following Jesus, I don’t want to be a shabby disciple of Jesus Christ but I want to be a serious disciple of Jesus Christ.  The thrust of following Jesus is the “forsaking all” to follow Jesus.  To understand about what it takes to follow Jesus, we need to look at some Bible passages and learn from them.  I do not suddenly choose to follow Jesus.  Neither do you!  I believe that it is a series of events which lead one to follow Jesus.

When Jesus was on earth, how did He call His twelve disciples to follow Him?  As I could recall, Jesus first called Simon and Andrew, who were fishermen, to follow Him.  He also called James and John to follow Him.  They too were fishermen.  In Mark 1: 17, Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  When they were called, they did not hesitate to follow Jesus.  Before Jesus called them, they must have heard about Jesus.  They, the Jews, were expecting a Messiah to come and save them from the Roman rules.  They followed Jesus because they believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  As such, I believe that God would allow a series of events to happen in our lives, which eventually lead us to follow His Son, Jesus.  He may not issue an audible call to follow Him just as He did for the twelve disciples.  As I could recall, those whom He called were simple men, not of high status, not educated, but fishermen, tax-collectors and people without status!  They were ordinary people.  In Acts 4:13, it was written, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.  And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

For me, Jesus gave the invitation to follow Him through my second brother, James.  The powerful love of Jesus drew me to follow Him.  There is no one who loves me more than Jesus.  As I read the Bible, then I knew the kind of commitments involved in following Jesus.  In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  First of all, when I follow Jesus, I no longer hold things too tightly but loosely and willingly give up things which I adhere dearly.  “To deny myself” means “to give up my rights for the sake of following Christ.”  Instead of pursuing my own ambition, I would rather pursue what Jesus has laid down in my heart to pursue.  As what Paul has put it very nicely, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ”, I have no regret in following Jesus, no turning back from following Him.  Secondly, when I follow Jesus, I will face oppositions, ridicules and trials.  “Following Jesus” means “taking up my own cross daily.”  It is similar to what 1 Peter 2:21 recorded, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”  The cross of Jesus Christ depicts sufferings, pains and agonies and even rejections.  When I follow Jesus, I will face rejections, rejections from my peers in school and even in my workplace.  During my school days, I did have people called me by nickname such as “holy man”, something close to this term.

Finally, the word “follow me”, after having accepted the first two challenges, compels me to live a life worthy of the calling which I have received from Jesus, my Master and my Friend.  “To follow Jesus” means “to seek Jesus’ agenda rather than my own agenda.”  In order to know Jesus’ agenda, I need to set aside time to spend qualitatively with Him, not a rush one but a realistic one, one which I can confidently say that I have met Jesus today.  It is a daily walking with Jesus that reveals truthfully of my totality in following Jesus.  To sum it completely, it is to be a serious disciple of Jesus Christ, not a shabby one, taking my faith in Christ seriously and sharing my love for Christ sincerely.

It is my prayer that we would be encouraged through this article to truly ask ourselves whether we have followed Jesus and be a serious disciple of Jesus Christ.

Preacher George

March 2, 2014