What kind of man can simply walk into the life of another and so profoundly make an impression, he would drop all and follow? What kind of man can change the heart of another through simple statements with life-altering consequences?
Each time I read through the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, I am amazed at the simplicity yet life-changing call on His followers. John 1 records Jesus’ call on Andrew, Peter and Nathanael. How could such men so easily follow a Rabbi they knew so little of? How could He evoke such emotion that Nathanael calls Him the Son of God and King of Israel? While the Jewish people were certainly looking for Messiah, they weren’t looking for Jesus. A man of usual appearance from a county town in Galilee, Jesus didn’t have a Rabbinical pedigree. Yet, he had been amazing the teachers of the law since He was a teenager.
Jesus was, is and will always be an enigma. His very name can polarize close friends. Even voiced in vain, it carries such power and emotion. Jesus befriended those without hope. He called those who were humble, arrogant, weak and strong. Jesus’ inner circle listed a zealot, tax collector, orthodox Jews, possible Essenes and many more. This motley crew lacked any formal eduction or unifying political bent. From their various walks of life, they discovered One worth following. Their own religious leaders would go to great lengths to challenge their Rabbi, calling to question every claim. Jesus’ answers would soon stun crowds and send the scribes away angry, scratching their heads in disbelief. He would speak with such authority. Jesus was not what anyone expected, but somehow He was exactly what everyone needed. He still is.
John 1:11 states, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” I would contend Jesus is the One worth following because He came. God coming to earth for the restoration of humanity reveals His character and heart unlike anything else. So many believe in a distant deity while worshipping their own lives. So many Christians disconnect life from faith and compartmentalize Jesus, fitting Him into the appropriate box of their lives. In the simple act of coming, Jesus spoke countless words of compassion, love and grace. He was and is and will always be Holy. Yet, He humbled Himself, knowing the pain and rejection He would endure. He came knowing the relentless questioning He would face. He came knowing those closest to Him would deny Him at the point of His greatest need. He came knowing He would be born in a feeding trough in some distant cave in a remote town called Bethlehem. He came knowing He would be misunderstood His entire life.
He still came. He still came and He gave the right to those who believed in His name to become children of God. As I sit and write these words at my computer, I am dumbfounded that He came. I am awed that He called people to follow. I am astounded that He gave them a choice – that He gave me a choice. Those early disciples encountered a man they could not help but follow. Their words and actions speak volumes about the God who became a man and made a way for humanity to be reconciled to their Creator. Today, I hope I can follow with the same wreckless abandon those early men displayed. Oh that we would be so captivated with the call of our God, our Creator, that we would leave the cares of this world and follow well. Of all that will distract my mind and heart today, there is only One worth following.