Posts Tagged ‘follow’

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Luke 14:25-35, NRSV)

How many of us would undertake an addition to our homes without figuring out how much it would cost and if we could do it first?

None of us, yet I still remember a building in lower Michigan from my first call in Northern Ohio that was standing incomplete, because whoever started building it ran out of financial support in the middle of construction so a shell of a building stand where a completed structure should be.

We all can hit hard times though and things can happen so even if we estimate and calculate the costs unseen hindrances may arise.

But if any of us calculated the cost of following Jesus could we do it?

Hate mother, father, sisters, brothers and even life itself?

Could we?

I think if we are honest, none of us can do this on our own, but with the help of God, all things are possible.

So calculate the cost and know you can’t, but take a hold of God’s hand and know you can.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? (Matthew 16:21-26, NRSV)

ὀπίσω μου. Literally, this means get behind me.

When Peter rebuked Jesus, Jesus rebuked him. Peter did not understand the plan and what needed to happen, and so tried to force his plan on God. To quote the beginning of the movie, My Sister’s Keeper, “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!”

You see Jesus tells all of us to come along with Him, but he also says ὀπίσω μου. We need to know our place with Jesus, He is our friend and our brother, but he is also our Lord and our Master, and we need to see the back of His head when we are following Him.

So are you ready to give you our plans and ὀπίσω μου?

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles:Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. (Luke 6:12-19, NRSV)

He called His disciples and chose 12 of them???

So we say there were 12 disciples but Luke here clearly says there were more than 12 and Jesus chose 12 of them to set them apart.

Why 12? 12 tribes of Israel more than likely, plus it is a nice number.

And the word disciple can pertain to all of us as disciple means one who follows or learns from another.

or we could say apostle also because apostle means one who is sent.

So we are learners and followers of Jesus and ones He has sent.

So we may not be a set apart disciple or apostle but we still are one!

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.  I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken. I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid. I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations. They shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I am your God, says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 34:20-31, NRSV)

Since the rulers of Israel had fallen away from God, God interveined.

That is good news, God does not leave His people to flounder out of the water like a fish gasping for air, trying to get back into the water forever.

God will intervene and help His people when they stray too far and long from Him.

He will bring His leaders, those who fill cling to Him to lead His people.

Follow after God and know He is always there, walking side by side with you.

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:1-10, NRSV)

This picture shows what many think is the way sheepfolds were in Jesus day, 3 complete walls, and a 4th with a hole. And the shepherd would be the gate to keep the sheep in and other animals out.

But notice in out text that it doesn’t say the shepherd keeps other sheep out, but that the sheep of a shepherd know his voice and they follow him. When the shepherd goes into the sheepfold and calls his sheep, the follow him. They follow Him out.

And that is where Jesus is calling us, out. It isn’t about keeping us safe in the sheepfold, or the confines of our worship spaces. It is about us going out. Having life abundant and sharing that with the world!

So don’t see the gate as a way to keep bad things from you, but as a way to the world that the shepherd is calling you to go to, to share the life He has given you and show them He can do the same for them!

170330Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked. Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness. (1 John 2:3-11, NRSV)

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you ought to walk just as He walked.

Love everyone. Show them the mercy that God has given you and allow your life to change the world around you.

You are not here to judge and condemn but to spread grace, mercy, and love to all of the world.

So walk as He walked.

170329As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.  There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”  Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34, NRSV)

What would you say to Jesus if you got His attention and He asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord let us see!” is what these two men asked for. Let us see the world we have never actually beheld!

And Jesus did it. And they followed Him.

But what would you ask him for?