Following Jesus • 36 / Followers are intentional

Read This: John 1:35-51

At first glance, the men in this story (Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael) seem to follow Jesus suddenly. He appears and they follow. Was that the case? Becoming a disciple was not a trifle. They were committing themselves to a life change. Why did they respond so quickly?

Because they were actively interested. Looking for someone, waiting and ready. The word Messiah is the key. John and Andrew were following John the Baptist because he was talking about the Messiah. When John said, “That’s Him,” they turned and followed.

Andrew told Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” Peter came right away.

Jesus initiated the connection with Philip, yet Philip understood Who Jesus was — “Him of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote.” That’s what he told Nathanael, and it’s what Nathanael responded to.

Following Jesus is not natural. It changes who you are and what you do.

Humans were created by God and in His image. We can reason, communicate, choose, and love. When people do wonderful things, they are revealing their Creator. But no one does only wonderful things. We all occasionally violate what is good, right, and loving (some of us more occasionally than others). And we all resist the notion that God is our Creator, and that He has every right to expect our worship and obedience. We tend toward self-interest, and we fail to love others as more important than ourselves.

Following Jesus means surrendering our self-interest and sovereignty, and yielding to His way — the way of love. He has the right to expect this since He made us. He also came to earth as one of us to pay the penalty for our sin. That’s what being the Messiah is about, and it’s why the men in this story followed Him so quickly.

It’s no different for us. When I choose to follow Jesus, I am surrendering my interests and embracing His. This isn’t something one “tries for a while.” The men in this passage surrendered everything to follow Jesus.

At some point we must all decide whether we’re in or out. I believe it’s the most important decision each of us will make in this life.