Jesus asks a very simple question in John 1:38 when two of John the Baptist’s disciples started following him. Jesus said, “What do you want.”
This is a great question today for us to ask. Why do I want to follow Jesus as his disciple? Is it because of what Jesus can do for me and my life or because he is God in the form of man and he is the way and the truth?
Often it is easy to think that following Jesus should be without challenge or problems. Since he is “the way, truth, and the life,” and we are most fulfilled in relationship to him, shouldn’t life be easy?
The honesty of Jesus is compelling. Notice how Jesus simply states what it will be like to be one of his disciples in Matthew 10:16-23,
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.”
For the disciple of Jesus, it should be expected that when we are following the Master, the way will be difficult. Obedience to Jesus is a narrow and steep path. Even though this has historically been true, Jesus and his followers have changed the world! The benefits of following Jesus far surpass the cost because following Jesus is God’s plan for us. I like how Barclay summarizes challenging reminder when he says,
“The world will offer a man roses, roses all the way, comfort, ease, advancement, the fulfillment of his worldly ambitions. Jesus offered his men hardship and death. And yet the proof of history is that Jesus was right. In their heart of hearts men love a call to adventure… It may be that the Church must learn again that we will never attract men to an easy way; it is the call of the heroic which ultimately speaks to men’s hearts.”
I am motivated by the call to the heroic aren’t you? I want to be in the arena fighting for the Kingdom! This passage reminds me that when I present the Gospel to someone I must not imply that life will be easy, but it is worth it because it is the only way based on the truth!
Father, this passage is an excellent reminder that following Jesus will not always be easy. In America, we have in comparison to the early church, an easy time following Jesus. And yet, we still complain when things do not go the way we want! Help me to adjust my expectations of what the like to follow Jesus. Help me to seek your will for my life rather than my own. Thank you that we currently can follow without significant ramifications. If our society changes, help me to remain still faithful and follow you regardless of the cost.
Following Jesus with you,