Jesus chose the disciples. But at what cost was it to become a follower of Jesus?
When Jesus called the twelve, he did not ask them to volunteer; but simply drafted them into service to serve. Yet, he did not force them. Jesus never forces anyone.
The Cost of Following Christ
There will always be opposition to following Christ. Some of the opposition will be natural pressure. But some curiosity seekers will need to hear the truth to understand why you have chosen Christ over the world.
These scriptures from Matthew may help.
- Government pressure or threats (10:18-19,26)
- Religious People (10:17) may oppose you because of fear and worry of physical harm (1:28) or public ridicule (10:22).
- Family (10:21) rejection or loved ones (10:34-37).
The truth from Matthew (10:26,28,32 and 31) resolves any opposition.
How Will You Respond
What if Jesus calls you into service? How will you respond?
Jesus calls people from all walks of life. Politicians, ordinary and educated individuals. He is not a snob and invites everyone to serve and carry the message of God.
The first followers had no impressive credentials because there were and is none.
Today many believe only certain people fit into the service of Jesus, but that could not be further from the truth. God can use YOU, no matter how insignificant you appear.
Jesus employs ordinary people to do important things!
If Jesus chooses you to serve, do not fail to respond. You will be among outstanding men and women who have served or serving as followers of Christ.
Do you feel small insignificant, or useless? You can do extraordinary work with the power of the Holy Spirit within you.
Men like Bartholomew, Nathaniel, and Thaddeus were not exceptional men but did extraordinary work in Jesus’s service (John 1:45-51).
Simon, a Zealot, had been a radical political worker, but when Jesus called him to serve, Simon responded and became a disciple of Jesus.
In The Service of Jesus
When Jesus drafted the disciples, he did not send them to the gentiles but Jews.
Why Jews, not Gentiles or Samaritans?
Let me began by defining who a Gentile is. A gentile is anyone that is not a Jew.
The Samaritans were the result of intermarriages between Jews and Gentiles after the OT captives (2 Kings 17:24). But it was not because of who these people were; it was because Jesus came first to the Jews (Romans 1:16). God chose the Jews to share their Jewish King and Messiah with the world as the risen King and Son of God throughout the Roman Empire!
Scriptures teach that God’s message of salvation is for all earth’s peoples, no matter sex, race, or nationality!
These scriptures clarify the purpose and reasons for giving the message to the Jews (Gen. 12:3, Isa. 25:6;56:3-7; Micah.41:11; Acts 10:34,35, Romans 3:29, Gal. 3:28) and will help you understand why God chose the Jews as His messengers.
The Jewish people had been awaiting the coming of their Messiah for many years! When Jesus arrived, they refused to accept him as the long-awaited Messiah. After all, they were expecting a Messiah of war.
They had been under Roman rulers for many years and wanted freedom from their military and political law. So hey wanted a Messiah of action!
Jesus was not what they expected. Many Jews were bitterly disappointed with the meek, mild, and non-warrior. His teachings of a coming kingdom and the afterlife were not what the Jews were expecting or needed. They wanted the glory days of Solomon and David, not the talk of a Spiritual Kingdom!
Jesus had come from heaven to earth to give his life so we would be saved and have everlasting life. He gave humanity promises of eternal life with Him as their Savior, with the commitment that he would live in the hearts of his followers. But anyone who was not His followers would be destroyed, but God’s people would live in peace!
Jesus gave his disciples’ principles to follow, the same guides we have today. Followers of Christ are to minister to the world by the same principles in biblical days!
Our heavenly Father has showered us with blessings. As followers, we must show generosity and love to those who do not understand or know the Messiah!
Jesus told his disciples to minister to the people, and they would take care of them.
Jesus meant the disciples could expect food and shelter for the services they offered the people.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should give generously for the blessing provided to us by pastors and teachers serving God (1 Cor. 9:9,10; 1 Tim. 5:17).
When Jesus sent the disciples out, he told them not to take money, extra shoes, walking sticks, or bags; the people would provide for their needs. If not, they should shake the dust off their feet and leave the town.
Jews often shook the earth from their feet to show their separation from Jews who reject the Messiah! Jesus’ instructions not to carry material possessions were so as not to hamper their work.
Receptive to the Teachings of Jesus
The disciples destroyed the cities, not susceptible to their teachings. Cities like Sodom and Gomorrah were demolished for their wickedness by fire from heaven (Gen. 19:24,25).
Anyone today rejecting the Good News will be worse off when Jesus returns than the wicked people of Biblical days.
The Pharisees were Jews who spoke against the teachings of Jesus and opposed him.
Jesus was the disciples only hope against the Pharisees because they were wicked though claim to be godly Priest in the service of the Messiah. But the disciples knew Jesus was their protector and had no fear.
There will be times when you may face hostility much as the disciples did in preaching the Good News, but you must not allow this to prevent you from teaching the Good News! “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Tim 1:7 KJV).
Even when experiencing hardships, the disciples never gave up or ended their teachings. When courts of government stood against them, the disciples remain steadfast, knowing their strength and protection was not of this world but in their Savior!
Jesus had told the disciples to keep teaching the Good News (Matt. 10:19,20)! Not to worry about defense for when they spoke, the words would not be their own but the Holy Spirit’s!
Jesus advised his followers to always be prepared, to provide thoughtful statements. Jesus meant the disciples and his followers must prepare and never stop making preparations!
Followers of Jesus must endure, but this does not mean staying to the end. Sustaining against persecution is not the way to be saved but is evidence of being fully committed to Jesus!
Persistence is not the means of earning salvation; it is the by-product of true devotion to life!
Jesus warned the disciples about the perils of being his followers. He even warned them about premature martyrdom, and advised them to leave before their prosecution became too great!
If you find your prosecutors are becoming too numerous, go elsewhere. There is plenty of work to be done, and will not finish until Jesus returns but will continue until the world understands the true identity of Jesus (Roman 14:9-12;24:14).
Satan, the prince of demons, is in control of this world, waging war against the followers of Jesus. Much like when the Pharisees accused Jesus of using the power of Beelzebub to perform miracles.
Sound is sometimes labeled as dangerous to make followers of Christ appear like their enemy, Satan! But followers who remain strong will be vindicated when Jesus returns.
Jesus said, “God is aware of everything that happens to sparrows.”
You are far more valuable to God than a sparrow”.
God places such value on you because he created us in his image, and the Holy Spirit dwells within you.
Do not allow the wear and tear of daily life to break you! For followers of Christ who stand up despite trouble will undoubtedly have lasting value in the Kingdom of God!
Conflict and disagreement will arise, but it will not overcome you as a follower of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ!
Christ has called you to a mission, not a life of comfort or tranquility. Love of family and friends is essential. However, not as crucial as your work for Jesus!
Taking up your cross and following Him means being willing to publicly identify him as your Lord and Savior, forsaking everything for him!
As a member of the Christian community, you may become separated but do not become discouraged.
Jesus was not discouraged, disobedient, or afraid of conflict! He showed his presence and demanded a decision. If Jesus was worried, he never showed fear. Remember, because you are a follower of Jesus, war will eventually arise no matter how you try to prevent the occurrence.
Take up your cross and follow Jesus’ values, morals, and goals; you will become set apart from the world. As a Christ-follower, never neglect your family or friends, even when they are against you. Hold firm to your commitment to God; it is essential in your life as a follower of Jesus.
Positive and Negative Statements
I will share a verse that can be both positive and negative but yet, is the truth.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give it up for me, you will find it”(Matt. 10:39).
The verse is saying, If we cling to this life, we forfeit the best from Christ in this life and the kingdom. The more we value our life and its so-called reward, we cannot live as Christ intended. If you appreciate the power, popularity, financial gains, and security, you will come up empty. For these things are of little value in the Kingdom of God!
You can be free if you work for eternal life and not earthly gains. Follow Christ! Release your hold on the world, enjoy the benefits of following Christ.
Jesus is Eternal and always Significant.