Luke 5:27-28 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
Matthew 4:19-20 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
What can you observe from these three “follow me” stories?
Why didn’t Jesus tell Levi (Matthew) or the fishermen (Peter and Andrew) to give up everything like he told the rich young ruler? He didn’t have to. They were ready and willing to follow Jesus. The rich young ruler wasn’t. He wanted Jesus plus all his stuff. In order to follow Jesus, we have to leave our lives behind.
Jesus isn’t something we add into our lives to make our lives better. Jesus becomes our life.
Is He your life?
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
This sounds like a miserable thing. We can picture Jesus, beaten and bloody, barely able to hold the weight of the cross, needing someone to help him. You pick up a cross to die.
But the death of a saint is precious in the sight of God (Psalm 116:15)! God is looking for people willing to pick up their cross and go to their death. It is precious to Him. Then He can have His way in your life, the only way that’s good and right and full of blessing. God is looking for people who will give themselves wholly to Him, who will just throw themselves into His arms and say like Isaiah, “Here I am, send me!”
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD roam to and fro over all the earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him…
He’s looking for someone devoted to Him. He wants to show Himself strong to save. You want to see miracles? Don’t desire them. Desire God. Love God. Love Him with your all.
Take your life, your possessions, your activities, your dreams and plans, your past, your faults and failures, your successes, your personality, your identities, your diagnoses, your body, your mind, your everything and put it on the altar before God. Give it all up to God’s will for you. In Christ, you are a new creation. None of that other stuff defines you as a Christian. You are a child of God. You are a disciple of Christ. You no longer live. Christ lives in you. Let Him send His holy fire on the altar and consume it. What remains He will give back to you, now consecrated for His purposes.
Luke 14:33 In the same way, any one of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Isaiah 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Luke 22:42 …“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Galatians 3:26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
John 8:31-32 …“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Psalm 66:12 …we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Zechariah 13:9 And I will put this third into the fire…, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
1 Peter 1:7 So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Lesson Point: Leave everything behind and follow Jesus.
Challenge Question: I could have named this lesson “The Cost of Discipleship.” Can you wholeheartedly say that Jesus is worth any cost? If you feel any catch, take it to the Lord in prayer and ask for help giving it all over into His good and loving and capable hands.