We conclude our series on Encountering Jesus in the Book of John with a look at Jesus’ final conversation in the book. We look at how many times Jesus says to follow Him, and we look at some of the benefits of following. We also look at common obstacles to following Him, and ways to keep our focus on Him so that we can follow.
Come Follow Me
We’re wrapping up our series on Encountering Jesus in book of John.
John was a deliberate writer. He opened his book in a certain way, and he closed it in a certain way. John 21:20-23–bottom line–Forget any and all distractions, and follow me.
Jesus’ call to follow Him runs through the whole book. John 1:35-37
Why would anyone immediately follow? Well, they had already committed themselves to following–in this case, John the Baptist. Since their first leader pointed the way, they knew it had to be the right choice.
Read verses 29-34. John pointed out that this man was God’s lamb. Lambs took away sins for the individual and the nation. Here was God’s lamb who could take away everyone’s sin! (see also 1:43).
His words, Come and see, were a command, not an invitation, or suggestion. Come literally meant Come here–your destiny is to follow me.
There are two similar stories from the book of Matthew: 4:18-21 and 9:9 Time after time, we see people leaving their nets, their boats, and their families.
“Come” implies that we have things to learn, and that we are committing to seeking, and finding, and following someone.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. We may have years of knowing Jesus under our belts, but is there anything left to learn? Is growth still a possibility?
Let’s get back to the book of John. John 1:35-43
What does Jesus say? Once He notices them following, He asks them a question: What do you seek? When they answer, He says, Come and see. He invites them into a personal relationship right away.
But even more, look at those words! So many of us want to understand, to know more, even to know His will better. The seeing is dependent on our coming to Him and following Him.
Many of us aren’t seeing because we’re not coming with Him to where He is.
Things that prevent us from following Him:
Matthew. 16:24–We can’t follow Him without a cross. We can try, but we won’t see Him!
To a person in the 1st century, cross meant one thing only: death by most painful and humiliating means human beings could develop.
If you wonder if you’re ready to take up your cross, consider these questions:
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means the loss of your reputation?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?
• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?
Luke’s examples of what can get in the way of following. Luke 9:57-62...
Matthew 19:20-22. A sad example of how someone’s destiny can be cut short.
John 21–back to Peter’s question about John. What was Peter thinking? He was being distracted! Jesus doesn’t answer, but goes to the bottom line. “Never mind all that–eyes on me, and let’s go!”
Only you can make decision to follow Jesus. And there are things that help.
“Surround yourself with people that you’ll have to fight through in order to throw your life away.”
Do the things that help you to see Him better, and get rid of the things that take your eyes off of Him. Read His words.
Be like the disciples. They asked Jesus, “Where are you staying?” Ask Jesus where He is in your life. Keep seeking. Spend time with Him.
When you make a mess of things, RUN TOWARD God, not away from Him. This is the mistake Adam made in the garden, and we keep making it.
Lastly, think of yourself differently. We’re followers. So let’s find out where He is, and start following!