What is a follower of Christ? “I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
13 I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors.
Terminology is interesting. What means one thing to one person might mean something entirely different to another. So, let’s define our terminology.
(American) Christian- a person who has trusted Christ for salvation: deliverance from hell and the promise of heaven.
Follower of Christ- a person who takes the Way of Christ seriously: relationship over ritual, and His ways over the person’s ways.
I wonder when the terms got to be so far apart in meaning. The biblical definition is found in Acts 11:26, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” If the term was meant for disciples, then let’s delve into what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
The best place to start is with what Jesus said about following Him as His disciple:
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24
Jesus gets specific about the cost of following Him later on in that chapter:
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62
1. The first candidate might have had a love for comfort and security. Jesus warned him that following Him required giving up all comfort and security and allowing Him to provide what was needed.
2. The second candidate had family ties and responsibilities that kept him divided. “Bury my father” meant much more than a funeral. It meant staying with him and caring for him until he died. Either the man felt responsible (or was made to feel that way) or he was making sure he received his inheritance. Again, Jesus told him to leave the consequences and possible fallout to Him.
3. The third candidate was possibly looking to define how he would follow Christ and when. Jesus made it clear that once we have decided, there is no turning back. We either follow Him 100% or eventually lose our desire to continue and return to our former way of life, which can be licentious or religious—both are sinful because they are done without the involvement of Christ in their lives.
Let’s take a good look at ourselves and what we consider important in our daily lives. Are we spending time in prayer and Bible study every day? Is our relationship with Him our highest priority? Are we truly followers of Christ as He desires? “If not now, when?” (Jesus to His mom in “The Chosen”).
Abba, I choose today to follow closely to You because yesterday is gone and tomorrow depends on today. May You prompt me in the way you want me to go and to say what you want me to say; May You call my attention to what You want me to learn and help me to avoid what I don’t need to think, see or do. It’s all about You, Lord Jesus. Amen.