Theme of the Week: Following Jesus
Bible Verse: “Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’” John 1:49
Scripture Reading: John 1:29-51
We all follow someone or something. In fact, we all follow multiple someones and somethings. Some of us follow sports team. You might follow a specific athlete. You may follow a particular news outlet. You may follow a certain type of music, or artist. Or you may follow a certain line of clothing or cosmetics. And of course, if you are on social media, you follow certain people or groups on Facebook or Twitter etc.
What does it mean to follow? In the examples I have given, it means: to pay attention to, or to have loyalty for. According to Dictionary.com, the word “Follow”, used as a verb with an object, has a number of meanings, but they can be essentially be summarized with these three:
- to come after in sequence, order of time, etc.
- to come after; move behind in the same direction
- to accept as a guide or leader; accept the authority of and give allegiance to
Jesus invites us to follow him – to actually follow him, not just on Twitter. We certainly come after him in sequence, he lived then, we live now, so that part is easy. He is also asking us to follow him in the sense that he wants us to go in the same direction as he does. But mostly, when he invites us to follow him, he is asking us to accept his authority and to give allegiance to him.
Let’s take a look at the first interaction Jesus had with some of his disciples (John 1:29-52). Note that the first invitation of Jesus “come and see” was an invitation to follow in the same direction as he was going. But when he invited Philip to follow him, Philip recognized that Jesus was asking him not only to go with him, but to give him allegiance. And certainly Nathanael knew the demands of following Jesus: “You are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.”
Which brings us to the next question: Why follow Jesus? Or, to put it another way – who is this Jesus that we are following? Roger Helland, in his book, Magnificent Surrender, referring to Colossians 1, states:
Christ is the pre-existent Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and resurrected Lord of all creation and the church. He is an icon, a visible image of the invisible God who dwells in him fully and whom Jesus represents exactly. He holds a position of absolute prominence and power as God’s Son and the world’s Savior, who died on a cross to reconcile and make peace between God and all things. Christ is the beginning … and he is supreme. God is pleased to have all his fullness live in him (v. 19). Who is Jesus Christ? He’s the sovereign Lord! He’s the Ruler, Master and Commander of the universe. He’s “the boss of you.” He’s God.
Are you following him?
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