Summary: Follow me – allow yourself to be led by God; understand that in this life you will experience dread; be willing to be ministry fed; and allow the word of God to feed you until you want no more – be word fed.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Text: Luke 9: 21 – 27
As we continue in our walk with Jesus, we paused when he suggested Come Rest Awhile, we where stunned when he commanded to Be thou clean. And now he pronounces for us to Follow Me.
Interestingly, when Jesus first pronounced to his potential disciples – Follow Me; they followed because of his personality. Listen what he says, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. In others words, follow my personality and I will make you a personality. That’s a significant point. When a person first comes to Jesus, they come because of his personality. Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart. They learn that he is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. They find out that he is the Lilly of the Valley. They feel a kinship to his being a rock in a weary land. As a result, when he stated to the disciples that he would make them fishers of men; they dropped what they were doing and followed him.
Thinking that he was the Messiah, men answered his invitation with their own perspectives of what following Jesus meant. There were some who felt that he would mount an insurrection against the military and political power of Rome. Some felt that he would topple the intransient power of the temple priests.
Still others felt that he had mystical power that would dominate the many practices of the day and win for them a place of honor within the social and religious system.
As they followed him they witnessed signs that supported there positions and reasoning. He transformed tax collectors into being apart of a benevolent society. He causes the religious leaders to reevaluate their positions within the temple. His popularity was spreading and very soon he would amass the manpower to mount an attack on the Roman system. For three long years they followed him, witnessing miracles, listening to his teachings, and sharing in the spread of the gospel message.
Following him meant that for some there business interests where suffering; for others their medical practice lost patients, and for others the community zealots lost active participation.
Following him, placed all of the disciples on notice that their lives had forever been altered. They learned about a place called heaven which was likened unto little children. They learn that the complication of the Mosaic laws could be reduced to two truths: love the Lord thy God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourselves.
They learned that love was more powerful than hate and that compassion was a greater force than violence.
They learned that you can experience true fellowship on a boat, in the valley or on a mountaintop. They learned that God had a son and that the Son and God were one.
Jesus poses a question to them. Who do people say that I am? Wait a minute, after three years, after the many experiences, and after forsaking all Jesus is asking the question: who do people say that I am?
I guess the inference is that if you don’t know me by now you will never, never know me.
Who do people say that I am? The answers varied. Some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah. Others say that the old prophets have risen again within you.
Well, who do you say that I am?
This question moves the reality of Jesus from a mystical, messianic, messenger into a compassionate, comforting, companion.
Who do you say that I am?
This is the question that each of us must answer in our own spirit.
Who is He to you? Who is He to me?
Peter jumps in and says: you are Jesus the Christ, the son of the living God.
Wait don’t tell anyone what has just been revealed. While I may be the son of the living God, I am also the Son of Man.
As the Son of Man, Jesus realizes that he will have to go through terrible times. The storm clouds are hovering over him. The thunder is roaring about him. The lightening is flashing over him. Over my head there is trouble in the air. The shadow of Golgotha’s hill is looming in the very near future.
Jesus informs his disciples:
I will have to suffer.
I will be rejected.
I will be slain.
But, I will rise again.
Jesus says to Follow me. He makes a significant shift in this pronouncement. While the words Follow me are the same as he uttered previously. They have a distinctively different meaning.
This time he is saying, instead of following my personality.
He is saying to follow my purpose.
In other words its one thing to say you are a Christian – personality. It’s another thing to be Christ-like – purpose.