A great multitude of the crowd followed Jesus but their interest was not in things spiritual. Why do you follow Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is a perfect example for us to follow. Especially our example of the way he responded to unjust sufferings.
Our Lord invites, “Come to me”, meaning to believe me. Jesus gives us rest. Then take His yoke upon you and learn from Him. This is a deeper experience. The first call is for salvation and the second call is for serving Jesus Christ as disciples.
Jesus said, “Follow me, I will make you fishers of men”. (Mk.1:17). Fishing for people is but one of the many pictures of evangelism in the Bible. One can become a fisher of men by following Christ. Their responsibility is to follow Christ. His responsibility is to make them successful fishers of men.
The following of Christ involved more than physical nearness. It included their imitation of the character of Christ. What they were was more important than what they said or did. Christ’s disciples heard the call and responded immediately. In true faith, they left their nets, parents and acknowledged the priority of Jesus over their earthly ties, and followed Him.
By responding to the call of Christ, these uneducated and untrained men became disciples of Jesus Christ. They were the key figures in the evangelization of the world.
Peter followed Jesus at a distance. [ Mt.26:58 ]
When all the disciples forsook Christ and fled in panic, Peter followed him at a distance. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end. And now, Peter was a spectator from a safe distance. The fact that Peter was standing by the enemy’s fire, warming himself, indicated how defeated he was. Peter’s denials were even more humiliating because two of the interrogators were servant girls.
But Peter wept bitterly; after Christ’s resurrection, Jesus met privately with Peter and restored him [Mk.16:7]. Jesus also restored him publicly [Jn.21:15-19]. The important thing is that Jesus prayed for Peter [ Lk.22:31-32]. Jesus Christ also prays for all His true followers[ Rom.8:34] who are forever kept in God’s love. Here, the important lesson to the followers of Jesus from Peter’s experience is, always pay attention to the Word, watch and pray, and put no confidence in your own strength. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. [ Prov.3:5].
During the French revolution, a man was seen running down the street after a mob, moving quietly into danger.
“Stop! Stop!” somebody cried out!
“Don’t follow that mob!”
As the man continued to run, he called back.
“I must follow them! I am their leader.”
The followers of Jesus Christ should not be that kind of leader, Peter was afraid of danger and he followed Christ at a safe distance. As a result, he denied Jesus Christ repeatedly and later wept bitterly.
War General Sherman used to say, “Be in the front always”.
When he was at the firing line, leading and directing the troops; they were always full of hope and when they were at the rear, where the wounded were being brought back, where the stragglers and deserters were evident, they were filled with fear and depression.
“Many disciples turned away from Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus said to the twelve,
Do you also want to go away?
Simon Peter, answered, Lord to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
Also, we have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Jn. 6:66-69)
Many of Christ’s disciples withdrew and stopped following Him and learning his teachings. To leave Christ would be to seal our doom. It’s better to draw near to God and follow Him always.
Jesus restores Peter. [Jn.21:15-22]
Jesus said to Peter, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me.”
About three years prior, Jesus called Peter to; “Follow me”.[Mt.4:19]. Three years had been a series of lessons for Peter, and his performance had been far less than perfect. Often, we are very much like Peter. “If I would be dying as a martyr”, Peter asked Jesus, “what about John. Is he also to die as a martyr?” At this scene, Peter may have started to leave Christ. The Lord’s answer was that Peter should not be concerned about John’s latter days. Often we are very much like Peter. We tend to compare our life with other believers. Many failures in Christian service arises from disciples being anxious and concerned about other believers’ life. When other disciples appear more prosperous in ministry or life, the Lord’s disciples must keep their focus on Christ’s command, “You follow me “.
In the storms of life [Mt.14:22-33]
Jesus was walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, Peter asked, “Lord, command me to come to you on the water.” So, He said, “Come”. Peter moved out of the boat and he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, lost focus, and began to sink. He cried out saying, “Lord, save me.” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him,
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When we follow Christ, we may face the storms of life. “In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jn.16:33. Jesus promised that His followers would experience trials and sorrows. There are two kinds of storms in our life. One is the storm of correction, when God disciplines us; the other is the storm of perfection, when God helps us to grow.
Jonah had been in a storm because he had disobeyed God and had to be corrected. The disciples were in a storm because they obeyed Christ and had to be perfected.
“Do not fear.” (Mt.14:27). “I am with you. I am your God… surely, I will uphold you with my right hand.” (Is.41:10) As long as Peter focused on faith in Jesus, he could walk on water as Jesus did. If he kept his eye on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible task. The moment he saw two ways instead of one, he began to sink. Jesus stretched out his hand and rescued him, gently rebuking his little faith. What caused Peter to sink? He took his eyes off the Lord and began to look at the circumstances. In our lives, we must not look at the difficulties of life but keep on looking at the Captain of our salvation and follow His steps always. Jesus is a pattern for all saints to follow. As we live godly lives, following Christ’s example, we may grow spiritually and become more like Christ.
John is an elder, evangelist, bible teacher, and author based out of Kerala, India. For more than three decades he ministers to the believers in his home church – Kundara Brethren Assembly.