Summary: We are to follow Jesus into a relationship to know God.
Title: Follow-Jesus Says
Text: Matthew 9.9-13
CT: We are to follow Jesus into a relationship to know God.
FAS: The following prayer has been attributed to a Muslim convert to Christ:
"O God, I am Mustafah the tailor, and I work at the shop of Muhammad. The whole day long I sit and pull the needle and the thread through the cloth. O God, you are the needle and I am the thread. I am attached to you and I follow you. When the thread tries to slip away from the needle, it becomes tangled and must be cut so it can be put back in the right place. O God, help me to follow you wherever you lead me. For I am really only Mustafah the tailor, and I work in the shop of Muhammad on the great square."
Pamela Joy Anderson, You Are the Needle and I Am the Thread, (WestBow Press, 2014), page xi [Screen 2]
LS: How do we that claim to follow Jesus…regard following?
Do we see Jesus as our leader?
Do we follow or do we worry more about just being sure we do the right things to be right with God?
To just do enough to get to heaven?
To be good enough?
Remember the game Simon Says when you were younger. You had to do something if Simon says but not if Simon didn’t say to. That is probably how a lot of us looked at Christianity if we are honest. A lot us saw Christianity as a religious game of Jesus Says. [Screen 3]
Jesus says jump. We jump.
Jesus says go to church. We go.
Jesus says pray. We pray.
Jesus says don’t look over there. ….But it looks so good.
“Jesus says” gets to where it just isn’t any fun. And before you know it you start to want to do the things Jesus says not to. The game becomes a drag because you don’t get to do what you want.
It looks like a whole lot more fun being out of the game. Especially when you look at others not playing and they are laughing and having fun.
As for me I started to like being out of the game.
But then my preacher or my mama would talk about what God wanted and what I was doing was not so good. My conscious got after me.
I would start playing again.
I would read my Bible. Go to Church. Do the bounce. Don’t look over there.
But I would look at the ones not playing and start being judgmental and think it wasn’t fair they didn’t have to play the game like me. They were doing what they wanted when they wanted with whom they wanted.
All I got to do was Do Do Do—Don’t Don’t Don’t do this or that.
I finally just wanted out. At least I would have some friends. Most of my friends did not like the Jesus Says game. No one could be that good. How could anyone win?
Maybe that is how Christianity looks for you and maybe you are trying to come back or look at it again or for the first time and you feel like playing “Jesus Says” just sounds too hard to do. Definitely not much fun.
Well if you are I have something to share. Following Jesus, which I highly recommend, is not about playing "Jesus Says".
If I could get you to just read the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you would discover it is not about playing Jesus Says. It is all about a relationship.
Jesus came to help us understand the Father. Not to just give a bunch of rules. [Screen 4]
Here are just some of the relationships we find in the gospels.
God the Father----us the child
Vine ….branch (the branch that feeds from the vine)
Shepherd….sheep (the sheep that follow their loving and caring shepherd who cares and protects them)
The sheep didn’t have to do anything first. They just had to follow.
Jesus is offering an invitation in the gospels to all who would follow.
I emphasize all. Doesn’t matter who or what you have done.
You can be the worst of sinner and you are invited to follow.
You don’t even have to believe yet and still be invited to follow. [Screen 5]
Let’s go to Matthew 9.9, As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew, a tax collector. The worst of the worst in the eyes of the people of that time. Paid thieves is how other Jews looked at them. And Jesus, the same Jesus we were talking about playing Jesus Says with, just asked this awful person to “Follow Me.”