In Mark 8:34 Jesus told some fishermen: ‘If anyone wants to be My disciple let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.’ He also promised: ‘Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!’ (Luke 14:27) and in John 12:25 He stated: ‘If you loose your life (for My sake and the Gospel’s) you will find it.’
The Gospel message of discipleship can sound totally negative and push people away unless it is understood in apostolic perspective. It could seem like you are loosing out on everything if you follow Jesus, but in fact you are gaining a lot more!
If you loose the lower, sinful & selfish lifestyle, you will be able to take hold of a higher lifestyle of divine provision, protection and reward on another scale! You will inherit eternal life – to be in God’s presence forever!
To deny yourself means to loose sight of your own interests in order to pay attention to things that interest God.
To follow is ‘achar’ in Hebrew and it means to remain behind until final victory is secured and evident; to linger until blessing comes or promise is fulfilled.
When we begin to see the full benefits of following Jesus it becomes more and more attractive!
Footsteps indicate character and intentions. To follow in Jesus’ footsteps one will notice His total submission to His Father’s will, His commitment to His mission on earth, His graciousness, compassion, gentleness, power over demons and sickness, His ability to overcome the devil’s temptation and how he resisted sin until he sweated blood (Hebrews 12:4). This is the greatest life ever lived. Men risked everything to follow Him to learn God’s ways.
Psalm 37:23 tell us the steps of a righteous man, are ordered by the Lord.
Results of following
The divine nature takes root in a life and breaks the power of corruption that is in the world through lust by the great and precious promises of God.
But what if following leads to trials? Then character is formed.
What if there is tribulation? Patience will develop that leads to solid hope. Accepting God’s dealings is a sign of meekness. He knows what is best for us. Pride resists God and defends our weaknesses.
Jesus’ yoke is to learn from Him. In other words: learn His teachings. Teachability is also a sign of meekness.
If we follow Jesus’ footsteps from Nazareth to Galilee we see how He was rejected at Nazareth and how they wanted to kill Him. But He escaped and went to heal a paralytic in Galilee. (Luke 5:18-25) From Capernaum He went to Jerusalem and He did not go to the Passover Feast but instead healed a man at the Pool of Bethesda. (John 5:1-9) From Jerusalem back to Capernaum He taught the Beatitudes and chose 12 Apostles, raised the widow’s son from the dead in Nain (Luke 7:12-15) and allowed a sinful woman to anoint his feet. (Luke 7:36)
From Capernaum he crossed the Sea of Galilee to go to the Gadarenes. (Luke 8:22) There he delivered a demoniac from a legion of demons. Back in Capernaum he raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead and healed a woman with an issue of blood when she touched the hem of his garment. (Mat 9:1-26) Finally Jesus also went to Jordan and Phoenicia, Decapolis where a blind man was healed (Mark 7:25-30) and a deaf and dumb man heard and spoke clearly. (Mark 7:32) He also fed 4 000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread. (Mat 15:32)
Although the Samaritans rejected Him He still healed 10 lepers. (Luke 9:52)
He spent a lot of time in Bethany where Mary & Martha and Lazarus lived and raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46).
Following Jesus footsteps around you see what He did for others and how people treated Him.
To be used of God is a wonderful experience. It is a higher form of life!
When I visited Port Elizabeth this week at Pastor Riaan Rabe’s church a lady called Embeth came up to me and reminded me of how God healed her daughter from cancer in the eye after we all prayed for her. Today she is happily married and lives in Johannesburg.
Today we can make a fresh commitment to follow Jesus. We repent of any sinfulness or selfishness and we make up our minds to follow Him until He fulfills His promises in our lives. He makes us the people we ought to be.