Daily Devotion: Follow the Leader

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Follow the Leader

“Follow Me!”

Those two words together form a command found thirteen times in the Gospels. Jesus used those two simple words when He called Peter, Andrew, James and John to be His disciples (Matthew 4:19). “And immediately they left their nets, and followed Him” (v. 20). Jesus called the tax collector Matthew in a similar manner. Jesus said to him, “Follow Me!” “And he arose, and followed Him” (9:9).

The words mean immediate detachment from personal interests and attachment to Christ. Implied in the call of Jesus was a turning from sin to Him in order to be saved.

Even after Jesus had risen from the dead, while the disciples were on a fishing trip, Jesus told Peter, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19). There are many references to individuals following Jesus.

But these words were not just for the twelve disciples; they are also for us today. Discipleship means following Jesus in a personal way.

“Follow Me!” is a call to obedience. It is no mere invitation, but an imperative command. Those who heard the words of Jesus immediately left everything to follow Him. It was a costly decision for James and John because “they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (Matt. 4:22). Matthew left his lucrative tax business.

There is no genuine Christianity without obedience to Christ. The rich young ruler heard the call and realized that Jesus was his rightful Lord and Master, but he refused to follow Him. The true believer enters into a life of obedience to Christ.

On another occasion Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). They are in the habit of listening to His voice and following Him. Earlier in the chapter Jesus used the illustration of the Palestinian shepherd who calls his sheep and they hear his voice, and they go out following him because they know his voice (vv. 3-4). However, they will not follow a stranger because they do not know the voice of the strangers (v. 5). Jesus gives “eternal life to them” that follow Him, “and they shall never perish (double negative—not perish, never); and no one shall snatch them out of My hand” (v. 28). If you have a tendency to doubt such great spiritual truth Jesus went on to say in the next verse, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (v. 29).

Who are you following? Are you following Jesus or some other religious teacher? Are you following Jesus in obedience to His teaching?

Jesus calls sinners to follow Him. He does not come to call the self-righteous, but sinners to follow (Matt. 9:13). He treated all men as spiritual in essence, sinning in experience with the possibility of being saved by grace. He knew human nature, and He knows us individually. The physician is never with the healthy, but with the pathological. His call is a call to repentance. He comes and He finds people living in sin and He bids them come and follow Him. A sinner cannot follow Jesus without a radical change in the direction of his life. To repent means a change of mind that affects a change in one’s life. It is impossible to follow Christ without repentance. We must turn our back on sin and set our face toward the righteousness of God in Christ. No one can follow Christ without repenting.

Charles Spurgeon said, “They come straightway; they come at all cost; they come without a question; they come to quit old haunts; they come to follow their leader without stipulation or reserve.”

That is the only way we can respond to His call for us to “Come and follow!” It is an act of simple trust in Christ. It is impossible to follow Him without trusting Him. If we do not follow we are not committed to Him. We are following our own goals or someone else’s. The call to “Follow Me!” means we will submit to His lordship.

In deed, “When Jesus bids a man come and follow, He bids him come and die.” You cannot follow Jesus without dying to self. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny self, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

Come, “Follow Me!” Will you follow Jesus in a life of obedient faith?


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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