Once we answer the call to “come and see” and we have “tasted and seen” that the Lord is good, our next step is to follow the Lord. While the plan of salvation is simple and free, following the example that Jesus set for us is not easy and it is not free. He gave up His glory in heaven, came to earth and died for us. Should the created expect to do less than that for His Creator? From the worldly point of view, this is asking a lot, but from God’s point of view, it is the best thing that you can do. The only way to save your life is to let it go.
33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it—Luke 17:33 (NLT)
For our sake, Jesus laid down His life, so that He could take it up again to be our Redeemer and Lord. So, we must lay down our lives for His sake.
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?—Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)
”Come, follow me”! When we decide to this for Jesus, we find a life that is truly worth living.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man receives his glory, and God receives glory through him. 32 If God receives glory through him, then God will give glory to the Son through himself. And God will give him glory quickly.” 33 Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and what I told the Jews, I tell you now: Where I am going you cannot come. 34 “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. 35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” —John 13:31-35 (NCV)
Knowing the coming events, Jesus was starting to prepare His disciples for HIs departure from them. Jesus tells them that He won’t be with them much longer and they cannot follow Him where He is going. Jesus stresses to them the importance of showing love for each other. We are told by the experts that boys join gangs because they feel like a part of the “family”. We have something much better to offer them. So, why are they attracted to the gangs and not to the Church? The important questions for us to consider are these::
Do we show enough love for each other to attract the attention of the lost? When they look at us do they see anything that would make them want to be a part of our group? If not, why not? What about ourselves or the church as a group do we need to change to attract them to Jesus?
7 Then Jesus said to his followers, “Let’s go back to Judea.” 8 The followers said, “But Teacher, the Jews there tried to stone you to death only a short time ago. Now you want to go back there?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the daylight, he will not stumble, because he can see by this world’s light. 10 But if anyone walks at night, he stumbles because there is no light to help him see.” 11 After Jesus said this, he added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him.” 12The followers said, “But Lord, if he is only asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead, but his followers thought he meant Lazarus was really sleeping. 14 So then Jesus said plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes I was not there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him now.” 16 Then Thomas (the one called Didymus) said to the other followers, “Let us also go so that we can die with him.”—John 11:7-16 (NCV)
The followers of Jesus asked a reasonable question, one that we would most likely ask had we have been there. Why would anyone want to return to a place where the people had tried to kill him? While the question shows their love for Jesus it also shows again their lack of faith in His ability to protect them and Himself. Had they not just walked away before? How quickly we forget the goodness and mercy of God when danger seems to lurk at our next step. Jesus uses the illustration of natural sunlight, but the followers had much more than that to watch over them. They had the Light of the world leading them. Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead and the purpose for which Lazarus had died. “And I am glad for your sakes”! Think of it, the followers are concerned, but Jesus is rejoicing! They will see the miracle of a friend being raised from the dead and their faith will be strengthened. Walking in the Light of Jesus, we are always safe from harm. If we live, He walks with us and if we die, we walk with Him. We should rejoice and be glad! Jesus does all things well and in His timing. 36 You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised. 37 For in a very short time, “The One who is coming will come and will not be delayed. —Hebrews 10:36-37 (NCV)
33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. 34 You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.” 35 The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! 36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”—John 7:33-36 (NLT)
These must have been very confusing days for the disciples and the true believers in Jesus. The Messiah had come but He had not set up an earthly kingdom as many believed that He would do. Now, Jesus is telling His followers even worse news. “I will be with you only a little longer.” Why was He leaving and where could He be going? Looking back from our vantage point in history, we know where He was going and we understand why He had to leave. Few, if any, of the people present at that time understood that. Isn’t it wonderful news that Jesus has never made that statement to us? In fact, just the opposite is true. To us, He has said: 5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”—Hebrews 13: (NKJV)
We have a companion that is closer than a brother. He not only leads us, He walks with us, He is our rearguard, and He abides inside us. Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus. What more could anyone ask?