Following Jesus


Matthew 8:18-20
18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

As Jesus’ popularity grew, more and more wanted to follow Him. Yet they didn’t quite understand what it meant to follow Him. The scribe that approached Jesus wanted personal wealth, fame, or popularity. But Jesus responded to him that the foxes and birds have more than He does and following Him isn’t about any of these things. Why do you follow Jesus?

There are many reasons in our culture why we follow Jesus, say we are Christians, and do things like go to church. But what are our motives behind them? Is it because we have always done it? Is it because our friends and family expect it of us? Is it because we have a couple key verses misquoted in our minds that make us think we will receive “treasure” and the “desires of our hearts” if we do? If we follow Jesus for selfish reasons, we are gravely mistaken. Jesus will say later that we must die to ourselves to be alive in Him. In John 6, Jesus reveals a little more of this dynamic:

26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

True followers of Christ don’t follow Him for riches or glory, but because God has set them aside with a desire in their hearts to please God and therefore will follow Christ. We see this happen in Acts 8 when the apostles were walking the earth with the power of the Holy Spirit and a great magician wanted a share of the power:

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”

Peter rebuked Simon, even though he had already come to belief and had been baptized, he was still stuck in a worldly mindset and focused on worldly principles instead of Kingdom principles. How often do we still fall into this trap? How much do we try to negotiate with God in a worldly way instead of understanding and accepting the Kingdom way?

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