This is the first of three posts about following the Lord Jesus.
People follow all sorts of celebrities and sports stars – wanting to know the latest thing that they have said or done. They try to be like these celebrities, to dress like them, look like them, talk like them and behave like them. The Bible teaches us that there is only one person who has ever lived on this earth who we should really be interested in following – the Lord Jesus. He himself calls us to follow him.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.Luke 9:23
Perhaps you have read or heard these words which were spoken by Jesus, and wondered why Jesus says that we should follow him? Here are three key reasons for following Jesus:
1 – We should follow Jesus because he is God.
Jesus wasn’t just another man born on the earth. He was much more than that – he was, indeed he is, the God-man. Jesus was almighty God, but came down from heaven as a real man to live on the earth so that we could learn who God is. He is so much greater than even the greatest of men whether Moses or Elijah or anyone who has lived since Bible times. Most importantly for us, Jesus came to be the Saviour of sinners. John puts this more clearly than any words I can write –
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.John 1:1, 2, 8
Jesus came down to earth to bring the message of gospel hope to a sinful world. But not only did he speak and teach the gospel message, he was the fulfilment of it, through which God had planned from eternity past to rescue sinners like me and you.
2 – We should follow Jesus because of his death and resurrection.
At Calvary the most wonderful event in history took place, Jesus, the God-man suffered willingly so that his chosen people might have eternal life. Jesus was taken by wicked hands and crucified. Through his perfect sinless life, he became a sacrifice for sin, then on the third day rose again, conquering the power of death. We all need to be set free from the grip sin has over every aspect of our lives – our thoughts, words, inclinations and actions are infected and corrupted by sin. Jesus willingly offered himself to make atonement for the sins of all those who trust in him. And, this sacrifice was final and forever – ‘But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God‘ (Hebrews 10:12). We need to be brought to the point where sin grieves us and we repent of it, looking to Jesus, following him. This brings us to the third reason.
3 – We should follow Jesus because we are sinners who need him.
We have considered some wonderful truths – that Jesus is God, his saving work at Calvary, his glorious resurrection – all of which are good reasons to follow Jesus. However, we will never really desire to follow him unless we know in out heart of hearts that we are sinners, that we need him, that we are lost without him.
Human beings are unique in all God’s creation, made in his image, with the knowledge of right and wrong in their conscience. We are accountable to God, but by nature are all rebellious, turning our backs on him, rejecting him and his laws. We are part of the fallen human race, justly facing God’s wrath for all eternity. The Bible describes us as ruined, guilty, dying and ignorant of the ways of God. Our case is desperate. Have you grasped this?
But Jesus came to make known and reveal the Father to us, not only his wrath against sin but also his love and mercy towards sinners. If we know ourselves to be ruined by sin we then need Jesus, the good physician, to heal us and Jesus, the good shepherd, to find us, lead us back to him and guide us through life. And he has promised that ‘him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. ‘ (John 6:37). So, if you know your need, take him at his word and come to him in repentance and faith.
Surely in light of these three reasons – who Jesus is, what Jesus did and what we are – it is so clear that following Jesus is much more important than following the latest celebrity? Simply put, we must follow Jesus or be eternally lost.
Do you know your need of Jesus? Are you following him? If not, what excuses are you making?
Some common reasons for not following Jesus will be addressed in a separate post soon.[B00004 – 07/04/2022]