I used to be really concerned about how many followers I had. I would be the one checking my social media daily for whether my number of followers had gone up, until I realised people really don’t really care as much as I thought they did about what I post on social media and I probably wouldn’t be a social media influencer with 100k followers.
Following someone these days does not take a lot of effort. You can easily follow someone literally on the other side of the world on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc., and you have access to their entire lives. Well, the parts that they choose to show you on social media.
I think that we could become so used to the idea of following that it can dilute the true meaning of following Jesus.
Matthew describes how Jesus showed the price of following Him to a couple of men who said they were willing to follow Him (Matthew 8:18-22):
“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, 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.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.””
Following Jesus seems to be more than just pressing the follow button and liking a few pictures.
It might not be as dramatic as casting out a demon or healing someone, but following Jesus really does take a miracle!
It might not be as dramatic as casting out a demon or healing someone, but following Jesus really does take a miracle!Tweet
We need God’s help to follow Him and even Jesus’ first disciples needed help.
When Jesus was betrayed and put on trial, we see that even the apostle Peter denied Jesus! Yet a few weeks later, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, he was able to stand up at Pentecost and to preach about Jesus to those who were the ones who had crucified Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t concerned about winning some sort of popularity test. Indeed, He actually leaves the crowd to go across the lake to get some space!
Jesus is after those who are not just swept up in the moments of emotion and follow the crowd, but who will follow Him day in and day out, through good times and difficult times.
Following Jesus needs to directly impact our life. Could those who we are around tell that we’re following Jesus by how we spend our time, and by what we talk about, or by the love we show?
Jesus is looking for followers who talk the talk and walk the walk. And for me that takes a miracle.
It’s a miracle because I’m human, I have many reasons why I shouldn’t follow Jesus even when I know it’s right. Let me share two reasons I see in the passage that resonate with me.
The first guy in the Bible verses above says to Jesus “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” To which Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To us that may be a strange way to phrase it but Jesus is making it clear that following Him is more important than what kind of comfort or physical security you have.
Eventually most of the original 12 disciples of Jesus were martyred for their faith. This was definitely not good for their comfort.
Because of the country that I live in, it’s possible that I and those who attend our church will never have to face being martyred for following Jesus. But I can still find my comfort and security in many things such as my routines, what people think of me, or how much money is coming in each month.
These aren’t bad things in themselves, but they must not get in the way of following Jesus.
When conversations about Jesus comes up at work: do we speak up or stay silent? Are we willing in faith to tithe our finances? Are we willing to truly love those who are different to us?
To truly know Jesus, to be led and loved by Him, comfort really is a small price to pay!
The next guy says to Jesus “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” And Jesus replies in a challenging and seemingly insensitive way “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Jesus isn’t being mean or harsh (for more context on this check this out) but what He is saying is to not put off following Him!
He is God Himself. The Creator and Sustainer of all life in this universe. If Jesus really is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords then when He says follow me, you don’t put it on hold!! You don’t say ‘Yes but first…’ or ‘Yes only when…’
Don’t procrastinate your obedience, and there are always temptations to do so.
“I’ll take following Jesus seriously when…
… I finish university.
… I get married.
… I’m more financially secure.
… I’ve had some proper fun.”
There’s always a reason to put off following Jesus now.
Don’t procrastinate your obedience.Tweet
In His responses Jesus isn’t trying to put people off from following Him. He loved the world (John 3:16) and He died for us out of that love, but He was really wanting to show those who wanted to follow Him what it truly means to follow Him.
It really does take a miracle to follow Jesus, it’s worth dealing with our desire for comfort and procrastination. We really do need God’s Spirit to help us follow Him. In His grace and mercy, He is for us and He wants to help us, and I am truly grateful for that!
When was there a time where God spoke to you about being too comfortable or hesitant in following Jesus? What helped you?
Ask God to show you what is holding you back in following Him in an area of your life.
Thanks for reading, what has your experience been on following Jesus? How have comfort, procrastination or anything else held you back? I’d love to hear from you, please share in the comments your reflections or any questions that you might have, Dan