It goes without saying that Jesus said many things to many people, but when it came to Jesus calling people to Him, He often used the simple phrase, “Follow Me.” In reading any of the four Gospels it is surprising how often we find Jesus using the simple phrase of, “Follow Me.” It is such a simply phrase that even a child can tell you the meaning of it. Yet it is so inspiring that theologians have yet to exhaust its meaning.
What does it mean to follow Jesus? Two things come to mind, and they are both captured in the title of the old hymn, “Trust and Obey.” I cannot follow unless I trust Him, but I can trust Him, in a general sense, but never follow Him. There are many who believe Jesus to be the Savior of men, but they never have trusted Him enough to follow Him.
You can applaud Jesus, you can admire Him, and you can come near enough to touch the hem of His garment, yet never strike a blow for God’s victory. His call is stirring, and never was there such an enterprise undertaken as the Jesus movement. His words stir the heart, but the question becomes: Will you answer His call to trust and obey?
Jesus finished His Sermon on the Mount with three allegories: Two gates – narrow or wide, two fruit trees – good or bad, and two foundations – sand or rock. The allegories are warnings that a choice about Jesus must be made. Matthew has portrayed Jesus as the adjudicator of humanities destiny, thus the choice is one with eternal consequences.
In Jesus’ allegories He asks, “What will you do with me?” Will you pass through the wide or the narrow gate? Will you follow me, or reject me for the world?” Jesus asks, “Will you find in me the inner source of transformation that produces the good fruit of life, or will you follow the voices of the world that promise everything, but deliver only emptiness?” Jesus asks, “Will you obey God’s will and come to me as your Lord and Savior, or will you chase after false manifestations of spirituality?” Jesus asks, “Will you build your life on my solid rock, or build on that which will leave you unprepared for the storms that are about to break over you and wash you away?”
Not pretty pictures are they? But these are the question Jesus asks you to answer. The days of this earth have been allotted, and this world may end sooner than you think, so you must be prepared at all times for what lies beyond. Therefore, I must ask, “What are you doing with Jesus?”
Phinehas was a priest in the time of Moses. In his day Israel began to worship the false god Baal with the daughters of Moab. Their worship caused a plague to break out in the camp, so when Phinehas saw an Israelite man and a Moabite women enter a tent together – yada, yada, yada – he took a spear and killed them both. His zeal caused the plague to end (Cf. Num. 25).
In Jesus day the Pharisees were the arbiters of the law, and took their definition of being zealous for God from Phinehas; zeal for God was at the point of a knife. However, these religious leaders were actually just zealous hypocrites; judging others, but not themselves.
Jesus’ instruction about judging is clear – Don’t do it (Cf. Matt 7:1). Why shouldn’t we judge? Most people, including Christians, are very critical individuals. Therefore, judging causes us to come across as harsh, vindictive, and cruel leaving the one who judges with the idea that they are superior.
When it comes to judging remember this: Nothing in the spiritual realm is accomplished by judging someone else. Also, every wrong thing you find in another person is something that you’ll find in yourself, and is something that you accept in yourself. Lastly, there is always one fact that you do not know about another person, or about a situation.