Summary: Too many believers are solely a follower and not a disciple of Christ, they do not build and strengthen the church. Oh yes, they come to church but there participation in the works of the church is at a distance.
Last week we learned that all believers of Jesus Christ are joined as one Body in Christ through the Spirit of God. We learned that each member is vital to the church and thus every member has a responsibility to the church in carrying out Jesus continuous work of redemption. As I read Saturday’s devotions in Our Daily Bread, it reminded me of our significance as one Body in Christ. Listen briefly:
All Christians have been gifted
By grace from God above,
Equipped to build and strengthen
The church in faith and love. —Fitzhugh
Unfortunately, because too many believers are solely a follower and not a disciple of Christ, they do not build and strengthen the church. Oh yes, they come to church but there participation in the works of the church is at a distance.
So today, I’d like to address the subject: “Following at a Distance.” In reading our text, it amazed me how at one minute everybody was loving on Jesus then at the next minute even those closest to Him changed up on Him. You know how that it don’t you?
• What about that friend whom you entrusted now has betrayed you! Or,
• What about that supervisor whom you confided in now uses that information against you!
What about Peter who closed up his business to follow Jesus? Peter, who at one minute, cut the man’s ear off because of the man’s behavior towards Christ. Shortly afterwards, Peter now denies even knowing Christ. I’m talking about Peter who was a disciple of Christ, part of Christ inner circle of closet friends.
I surmise that then there is a difference between a disciple and a follower. A follower is one that imitates another’s’ opinions and actions as long as he/she is in agreement with that leader. While a disciple is one who accepts and assists in spreading the Doctrines of Jesus Christ at all cost. So then, being a follower is conditional while being a disciple is unconditional. In other words, a follower isn’t dedicated while a disciple is not only dedicated but totally committed to the cause of Christ. Also, a follower can be saved but not sanctified but a disciple is saved and sanctified.
Look at the text:
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.