SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014.
THE COST OF FOLLOWING JESUS
‘If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be…’ Jh. 12v26.
BECOMING a Christian and deciding to follow Jesus has some costs and some of them can prove difficult for us. No doubt, we have prices to pay, sacrifices to make, challenges or hurdles to overcome. It is not easy at all.
In Luke 9v57-62, we saw some people who attempted following Jesus, but they were full of excuses. One said: ‘I am newly married, I need to be exempted for one year,’ the other said: ‘I bought a new donkey’ (he was a farmer) that he needed to test out the animal on the field and the last said: ‘let me bid my people farewell’. Good excuses they may be, but they did not meet the requirement for following Jesus. Jesus had said: ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God,’ Luke 9v62.
Notice, Jesus said: ‘if anyone serve me, he must follow me…’ implying serious, committed, genuine, true, not giving to excuses will follow me. To those who must follow Him therefore, we must take these to heart.
First, we must forfeit the world and its system of pleasure. This forfeiting of the world can cost us family ties, Matt. 10v34-37. It will stop us from following the patterns of the world, Rom. 12v2. We will seek to do only the will of God and not ours, James 4v13-16 and more importantly, we will choose to serve God and not man, Joshua 24v15. Those who wish to follow Jesus must turn their back to the world and its pleasures.
Second, we will be persecuted by the world. By this, we have accepted (as followers of Jesus) hardship, Acts 14v22. We have also accepted to be hated, Jh. 15v18-21, noting that we are not to lose heart because the world first hated Jesus, the Saviour of world. Then we have yielded ourselves to a great persecution, II Tim. 3v12. This persecution may come from our homes, offices, schools or wherever we find ourselves
Third, we will suffer as a test of our faith. From time to time as followers of Jesus, suffering may come our way, but this we are to bear with great equanimity. I Pet. 1v6-9 says: ‘Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, `being’ more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ: whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, `even’ the salvation of `your’ souls.’Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.