As mentioned in the previous post, there is much more worth to following a cause rather than simply being a fan of it. Following yields hard earned fruit while fandom yields little to no valuable results.
But of course, there are many things we could spend our life sacrificially following and those things prove to be worthless. Consider a man who has spent thousands of dollars in his lifetime on the lottery and in the end, has nothing to show for it. Consider sacrificing your whole life for a particular career and once you get it, you realize it wasn’t all it was hyped up to be and you are still empty inside.
The question then is: What cause or person is worth the cost of following?
There is a world leader who came not to be served, but “to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” He came not to heap more burdens upon us but to take our burdens off of us and put them on him so we could have rest. Historian William Leckey writes that the simple record of [this man’s] 3 short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.” And everything this leader demands of what it costs to follow him, he first did himself in accomplishing for us what we most need but cannot produce: reconciliation with God.
His name is Jesus. Contrary to naive, popular thought, Jesus did not come to tell us to try to be good because he never claimed to be merely a moral teacher. No, he came to perform a divine rescue mission by giving us abundant and eternal life in exchange for bearing the consequences of everything we have done wrong before God (our sin), which has separated us from God. He never claimed to be a moral teacher; he claimed to be The Way, The Truth, and The Life. He claimed to be God.
He sacrificed his life for us so we could have life in him. He used his power to serve us, rather than take advantage of us. When fans of his began to abandon him because they realized following him would mean reshaping their lives upon him, Jesus looked at his original twelve followers and said “do you want to go away as well?” One of his followers Peter replied “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.
Life, eternal and abundant, is what Jesus offers us. This life is only possible through being reconciled to God which is what Jesus came to do for us. To have the gift of life Jesus offers you requires one thing: handing over your life to him in exchange for a new one. You can’t experience a new home unless you leave the old one. In the same way, to follow Jesus and receive the gift of life he offers you requires giving your life into his hands in exchange for receiving his own life he is pleased to give you. Jesus says:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:37-39).
Is Jesus really worth the cost of following him? If he was just a wise moral teacher or prophet then no. But if he is who he claims to be: Lord of all. Then he is worthy.
What kind of Lord is he? He is the Lord who laid down his life for us so that we could live, who came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many, who though rich, became poor so we could become rich in him, experiencing the abundant life that only he can give us now and forever.
Can we trust him?
You can sacrifice for a career, trying to prove yourself, a relationship, or a six figure salary, but these things will not give you life. Because abundant life is not found in these things. Jesus asks, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul” (Matt. 16:26)? Jesus knows the many rivals that are fighting to be your supreme priority in life. He knows that if we place our hope in success, money, or relationships, rather than giving us life, they will rob us of the abundant life that he has come to give us.
Wherever you are in your life right now and no matter where you have been, Jesus has three simple words for you: “Come, follow me.”