Just recently I was talking with a guy about my Christian faith and my devotion to Jesus. As we talked he told me he was an atheist but did appreciate Jesus as a great teacher. He talked about some of the morals that Jesus taught and how valuable they were to mankind. He even told me that he, in some ways, followed after Jesus. However, as we talked it was clear the Jesus that he followed was much different than the Jesus that I follow.
Currently our Sunday night gathering is working through Mark’s gospel. As we came to the start of Jesus’ ministry at the Sea of Galilee in Mark 3 we saw the people each followed a different Jesus.
At the beginning of this passage, we read about a crowd of people who followed after Jesus as he gave them healing from diseases or from demons. Mark tells us twice that not only was it a crowd that followed Jesus but it was a “great crowd”. This great crowd came from all over the region. It must have been an amazing site. People all around Jesus, following after him. As you read through the beginning chapters of Mark you get the impression that Jesus must have had many loyal and committed followers within the crowd, but as we continue to read we see this great crowd of people around Jesus become smaller and smaller. In fact, as we get towards the end of Mark’s gospel we once again see a crowd (Mark 15), but this time they are calling for the crucifixion of Jesus. You see there are those out there who will follow after the Jesus that only serves them in this physical world. When Jesus is there to bless them they will happily gather around him, but when he is not providing the physical healing that they want, they want nothing to do with him.
Is this the Jesus that you follow? Do you only want a Jesus who serves you? Do you only want a Jesus who blesses this life? I challenge you to examine your prayer life. What are you praying for? Do all of your prayers revolve around God blessing you? If so, then you are no different from the great crowd. I would imagine that when you do not get what you want you are quick to curse God and are filled with anger.
The next group of people we read about is Jesus’ earthly family. When Jesus was out with the great crowd we read about his family as they told Jesus that he was out of his mind for doing what he was doing. I imagine that his family thought he was too much of a radical, he was doing too many things, and if he kept it up he would make people upset. I imagine his family was happy for Jesus to be doing good things for people but probably wanted him to play it a little more safe. After all, who wants to follow a radical?
Is this the Jesus that you follow? Do you follow a Jesus who plays it safe? Is that how you live your life? Do you love a Jesus who only gives safety and comfort? Are you happy to be a Christian only if it is in the confines of a church building or around other people who profess Christ? I challenge you to once again examine your life. How radical do you live your life for Christ? Are you willing to do whatever it takes for the cause of Christ?
Finally we read about the disciples who are following after Jesus. This Jesus is much different than the Jesus the other groups see. This Jesus is the Divine and Sovereign God.
One of the things I love to read in the New Testament is how Jesus acts in much the same was as YHWH (the Hebrew word for the personal name of God) does in the Old Testament. Just as YHWH called people to himself (ex. Moses, Samuel, David) now Jesus in Mark 3 is calling those to himself whom he desired. Just as YHWH changed the names of his followers (Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel) Jesus changed the names of those who followed after him (Simon to Peter, James and John to The Sons of Thunder). Just as YHWH was sovereignly in control of all things, now we see Jesus who is in control of all things.
This is the Jesus we need to see. We need to see him as the Divine Son of God who rules and reigns. We need to see Jesus as our great King who demands us to follow after him radically. We need to see Jesus who now sits on the throne and whom we are to serve–not the other way around. We need to see Jesus for who he is and follow after him.
Is this the Jesus that you follow? Jesus is much greater than just a moral teacher, much greater than just a physical healer, and much greater than one who plays it safe. Jesus is our great King and only hope for this life and the next. I plead with you if are not following the Jesus of Scripture turn to and follow after him today.