Summary: What did Jesus really call the disciples to when he asked them to follow?

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Come and Follow

May 11, 2008

Me: Influences in my life that I have followed:

Coach Cates- hitting

Gary Stanley- Speaking

Bill Walthall- Serving

You: who has influenced you? Who do you follow? Where are you following them?

God: Today we are going to look at a story from the life of Jesus where he asks someone to come and learn from him. Jesus takes ordinary men and changes the world because they are willing to follow him.

This instance happens in the midst of five separate encounters Jesus has with the religious leaders of his day.

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:13-17

Jesus is not influenced by social standards.

Jesus does not hesitate to associate with and even minister to those who are outcast by society. Jesus instead finds those willing to follow him and begins a revolution that would change the world.

Levi, or Matthew, is one of many disciples who come from very common backgrounds of the day. We want to look at another passage that describes the people Jesus chose to carry on his message.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter) James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Mark 3:13-19

From this group of men Jesus chose to start a movement that would ultimately change the entire world.

For all of them it started with a very simple invitation: Come and follow.

What were they to do as they followed:

Be with him. (We learn simply by spending time.)

Preach the Word of God.

Serve with humility. Mark 10:42-45

Spread the message of Christ. Matthew 28:19-20

Die if necessary. Acts 1:8

(The word for witnesses in Greek is the same word we get “martyr” from in English.)

Jesus literally tells his disciples, You will be martyrs if you follow me.

We can read about their lives in the New Testament and we can see how they spread the message of Christ throughout the known world in the first century. But what happened to all the apostles?

Matthew- Martyred in Ethiopia

Peter- Crucified on an upside down cross

James- Executed by King Herod Agrippa I

John- Boiled in oil and exiled

Andrew- Crucified on an “x” shaped cross

Philip- Killed in Hieropolis

Bartholomew- Whipped until his bones were exposed in Armenia

Thomas- Speared to death in India

James, Son of Alpheaus- Thrown from the temple, stoned, brains dashed out by a rock.

Thaddeaus- Not known

Simon the Zealot- Not known

Judas Iscariot- Committed suicide after betraying Christ

All of these me, and millions of other men and women literally gave up their lives following Jesus. In the 20th century, more Christians died for their faith than in all other centuries combined.

You: What are you willing to give up to follow Jesus?

For so many of us, we are afraid that there might be some small sacrifice we will have to pay to truly be a follower of God. The path of following Jesus is not easy and it cannot be watered down. But, in following Jesus, we can be sure that we are living and dying for what is most important.

Jim Elliot was a missionary in Ecuador trying to share Christ with Indian tribes. One tribe in particular was known to be very savage. Jim and four other men flew into the jungle Over a period of time they set-up camp and began to try and contact this tribe. Eventually, the men were able to make contact and hoped to share Christ with them. They were then killed by the tribe.

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