May 20, 2016, 10:41 AM
“The unfolding of your Word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130)
Every true follower seeks to identify with his leader with a view to become his imitator. He goes through all the processes from start to finish, striving to be neither lukewarm nor timid. He is committed and purpose-driven; somebody who has come to learn, to observe and to understudy. Our Lord Jesus spent precious time with His disciples equipping them with the ‘know-be-do’ principle. They never always got it right straightaway, but with time they did. Sometimes, it was after some thorough explanation.
There were times when He had to explain His parables to His disciples in closed sessions for them to understand. “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around Him asked Him about the parables.” (Mark 4:10; Matthew 13:36) Question and answer sessions were a common phenomenon after the wave of crowds had subsided. “With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when He was alone with His own disciples, He explained everything.” (Mark 4:33-34)
Once, for being unable to heal a boy with an evil spirit that ‘had robbed him of speech,’ Jesus rebuked His disciples thus: “How long must I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” Indeed, they flawed several times and never seemed to be on top of things. That was a passing phase though. Later we hear Peter declare with authority over ‘a man crippled from birth’ whom he and John met at the temple gate: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6) and the paralytic rose to his feet, to the glory of God, the Father.
Our Lord Jesus had a clear and definite purpose for His followers. He vouched to make them fishers of men. He trained men who would go and fish for other men so that they too may come to the knowledge of truth and be saved. They had to have a thirst for souls and He served as an example. In one of His parables, He mentions the good shepherd who went after one lost sheep, leaving behind the ninety-nine others that were safe, until he found it. Each time a lost sheep is found, heaven explodes with joy. (Luke 15:7) This is how the true follower should behave. One becomes a multitude; every lost soul is considered a missing sheep from the pen in the
Our Lord Himself taught: “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) He went on to distinguish between the true follower and the one who is ‘disguised in sheep’s clothing.’ “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Not every follower is genuine or sincere. He may well be a make-believe. Nevertheless, Jesus cannot be deceived. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23) What a devastating verdict in the ears of a ‘so-called’ follower, who thought he had met the standards when he hardly did.
Ask any Christian if he is a true follower of Jesus Christ and you will get a loud affirmative response – and probably an ‘all-inclusive’ look why you posed that question. The problem is that we falsely believe we qualify and that our behaviour meets the norm. Most of us were born into Christianity and have lived with it without making much effort to learn what is required of us or what it entails.
Being a follower of the Lord cannot be ‘business as usual.’ We cannot continue having it our own way believing that all will be well on the Day of Judgment. We cannot fail to submit to His word and hope on His mercy. We cannot take the eleventh hour posture and hope that God’s grace would smile on us as was the case with the two brigands on the cross next to Jesus. The time is now. We are living in the time of grace and we ought to make amends by changing our lifestyles in order to conform to the Word of God.
The Bible teaches that God knows His own. If you were to question the comportment of some Christian folk however you would come across a wall where so-called followers of Jesus come up with smart answers and intelligent arguments defending their wrongdoing.
It is time we draw the line and cease doing business as usual. It is time we put a stop to this mockery. “Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked.” (Galatians 6:7) We cannot claim to be a disciple of Christ and still be lukewarm. No! We should be on fire – to burn off all the filth that impedes our progress and our spiritual walk. Or else says the Lord “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)
Every true follower bears fruit; and its success is determined by the yield – whether it is a hundredfold, eightyfold, sixtyfold or thirtyfold. A man reaps what he has sown. Therefore let us be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)