Follow

 

Follow.

 

There’s another one of those “Christian” words we’re not naturally very fond of. 

 

In the context of our culture, it’s far more desirable to be a leader, a warrior — a champion for truth, justice, and all that is good and right while vanquishing the evil enemy’s horrific and nefarious plot for world domination.

 

Meanwhile, outside of cartoon land, Ryan Freed asked a very intriguing question of Kinship Christian Radio’s listeners on Monday morning: “What one thing would you tell a new believer to Christianity?”

 

Everyone who responded had an excellent answer. More than one stressed the importance of reading the Word. (That would have been my initial response.) Prayer was also mentioned more than once.  Someone else said to tell at least one person a day about your faith. One person said to tell them to start listening to KJLY.  And more than one person stressed the importance of current Christians supporting, accepting,  and helping the new believer. 

 

The funny thing is, once I let the question really sink in and envisioned myself in a situation where I was face-to-face with a new believer, I think I would give them just one single word of advice:

 

Follow.

 

Just follow Jesus.

 

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record Jesus using exactly the same words when He called Matthew.

 

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. Matthew 9:9 (NIV)

 

Jesus didn’t give Matthew a lengthy sales pitch. There was no long dissertation on all the souls that needed to be saved or the glory that would await him. In fact, Matthew would go from being a rich albeit unscrupulous tax collector to wandering along behind a homeless street preacher with quite probably no income at all. 

 

Likewise for Simon Peter and Andrew:

 

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4: 18-19. (ESV)

 

Same story for James and John:

 

And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4: 20-21 (ESV)

 

And Philip:

 

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:43 (ESV)

 

Only for the calling of Nathanael do we find a different story and it’s described right after the calling of Philip:

 

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:44-51 (ESV)

 

Jesus promised Nathanael that he would see and experience glorious, wonderful things –things beyond his imagination.

 

I have not seen heaven opened and angels ascending and descending on Jesus, but I have seen and experienced amazing, glorious, wonderful things simply by following Jesus. 

 

I have seen children healed and souls saved. I have seen healing of the pain and loss of loved ones gone from this earth far too soon. I have seen people healed and cured by no other explanation other than the power of prayer and the love of Jesus. I have seen abused children who absolutely believed that there was no such thing as love come to live lives surrounded by love, to be saved by the love of Jesus Christ, and to go on to share that love with others.

 

I have seen addicts give up their addictions by the power of Jesus.

 

I have been one of those addicts.

 

And I have been granted the privilege, the amazing miracle of being given a taste, a brief touch of a love that is impossible for any human being to fully comprehend or describe. It is a love that burns from the top of the mountain as it did to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is a love that’s not just reckless –it’s relentless, majestic,  totally powerful, almighty, inexpressible love. It is a love so so wide, so long, so high, so deep, if you were to touch, if it were to touch you, you would not be able to hold back the tears.

 

It is an infinite love.

 

And that is the love the disciples of Jesus didn’t just experience–they lived out. 

 

They did that by following Jesus. They listened to His words until those words were part of their hearts and souls. He taught them to pray. They listened to Him tell others about the Kingdom of God. They watched Him accept, support, and heal the weak and the downtrodden, the outcasts of society. And they watched Him unfold the glory of God’s plan to save all humanity by His death and resurrection. 

 

And His disciples, His followers, were forever changed. They travelled the known world telling and showing others the love of Jesus. And that created more people who followed Jesus. And those disciples discipled other disciples and so on and so on until that one life lived in complete and utter unimaginable love changed the world more than any other life before or since in all the history of the world.

 

I will probably never be able to express that love as fully or completely as I should. I fail time and time again.

 

But the people who have been truly and simply following Jesus and allowing themselves to be led by Him have been champions for truth, justice, and righteousness in opposition to the enemy of our souls for the past 2,000 years despite all their flaws and failures.

 

So, dear new believer, my advice to you is to simply follow Jesus. You will falter and you will fall down, but He will pick you back up. All of the absolutely correct advice previously mentioned above will flow from simply following Him and being His disciple.

 

And as you follow, you will encounter other disciples who are following Him, too. Together, you will learn and grow and discover things you never imagined.

 

And one day, when you are not expecting it or looking for it, that amazing, glorious, astoundingly powerful love that defies all description will reveal itself to you in a way that brings you to tears that you cannot stop or control.

 

And you will never be the same.

 

Today’s Praise

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:19 (NLT)

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