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 he drafted them into service. Jesus chose the twelve to serve him uniquely. He didn’t force them because he never forces anyone to do anything they do not want to do.
The Cost of Following Christ
There will always be opposition to following Christ. Some of the opposition will be natural, pressure and some just need the truth to understand why you have chosen Christ over the world.
I have listed a few who may oppose you. The scriptures of Matthew can help.
- Government Possible pressure or threats (10:18-19,26)
- Religious People (10:17) This group may oppose you because of fear and worry of physical harm 10:28 or public ridicule 10:22.
- Family (10:21) Reason maybe rejection by loved ones 10:34-37.
However, this opposition can be solved with much-needed truth from these scriptures also from Matthew,(10:26,28,32 and 31).
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. Jesus is not a snob and invites everyone to serve and carry the message of God. So the first followers of Jesus had no impressive credentials because there were 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 significant things!
If Jesus chooses you to serve, do not fail to respond. You will find you are among outstanding men and women who are and have served as followers of Christ.
If you feel small insignificant or useless, you are capable of 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 the service of Jesus (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 Service of Jesus
When Jesus drafted the disciples, he did not send them to the gentiles but Jews.
Why Jews, No Gentiles or Samaritans?
Let me began by defining who is gentile. A gentile is anyone that is not a jew.
The Samaritans resulted from intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles after the OT captives (2 Kings 17:24) and were hated by the Jews. But it was not because of who these people were it was because Jesus came first to the Jews (Romans 1:16). Also, God had chosen the Jews to tell the world about him.
Jewish disciples were chosen to tell the world of the risen King, and Son of God throughout the Roman Empire! If you read the scriptures, it teaches that God’s message of salvation is for all peoples of the earth no matter sex, race or nationality!
These scriptures make it clear of the purpose and reasons for giving the message to the Jews ( Gen. 12:3, Is, 25:6;56:3-7; Micah.41:11; Acts 10:34,35, Romans 3:29, Gal 3:28).
The Jewish people had been awaiting the coming of the Messiah for many years! When Jesus arrived, they refused to accept him as the long-awaited Messiah!
The Jews were expecting a Messiah of war because they had been under the Roman rule for many years and wanted to free from the military and political law.
Jesus was not what Jews expected and was a bitter disappointment to the Jews. He was meek, mild and no warrior.
Jesus teachings of a coming kingdom and afterlife were not what the Jews were expecting. They wanted the glory days of Solomon and David and not talk of a Spiritual Kingdom!
Even in the 21st Century, we are awaiting the return of the Messiah and the coming kingdom, but most do not know what to expect
Jesus the Messiah gave his life, and his promises will be realized in the hearts of his followers. The evil will be destroyed, and all God’s people will live in peace!
Jesus gave his disciples’ principles to follow. These principles are the same one we should live by today, to minister to the world!
God has showered us with blessings, we as followers of Jesus must show generosity, love to those who do not understand or know the Messiah!
Jesus told his disciples to minister to the people 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, we should give generously of the blessing provided by providing for pastors and teachers who serve are 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. He was saying the people would provide for their needs, and if they did not, they should shake the dust off their feet and leave the town.
The reason Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust from their feet was when leaving gentile cities; most Jews often shook the earth from their feet to show their separation from Jews who reject the Messiah!
Jesus’ instructions to the disciples were not to carry material possessions that would hamper their work.
Receptive to Jesus’ Teachings
The disciples destroyed the cities not susceptible to the teachings. Much like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, these cities had been demolished for their wickedness by fire from heaven (Gen. 19:24,25).
Anyone who rejects the Good News of Jesus when preached will be worse off than the wicked people in Biblical days.
The Pharisees And The Disciples
The Pharisees were Jews who spoke against the teachings of Jesus and opposed him. The disciples only hope was Jesus against the Pharisees because of their wickedness, and the disciples knew Jesus as their protector.
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!
Even when experiencing hardships, the disciples never gave up or ended their teaching. Also, 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 when arrested to keep teaching the Good News (Matt. 10:19,20)! Not to worry about a defense for when they spoke the words would not be their own but the words of the Holy Spirit!
Jesus advised his followers always to be prepared, providing thoughtful statements. Jesus meant 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!
Disciples were told to leave before their prosecution became too great!
If you find that your prosecutors are becoming numerous, go elsewhere. There is plenty of work to be done, and will not finish until Jesus returns. The work will continue until the world understand the true identity of Jesus (Roman 14:9-12;24:14).
Satan, the prince of demons, is in control of this world and waging war against the followers of Jesus. Much like during the time of the Pharisees when they accused Jesus of using the p[power of Beelzebub to perform miracles.
Good is sometimes labeled as dangerous to make followers of Christ appear like their enemy Satan! But followers that 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 in spite of trouble will surely 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!
Family and Friends
As a follower of Christ and 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 demanded a decision, not fear. Remember because you are a follower of Jesus conflict will eventually arise no matter how you try to prevent the occurrence.
As you take up your cross and follow Jesus different values morals, and goals will set you apart from others. Don’t 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.
Christ has called you to a mission. He has not called you to 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 Jesus means to be willing to publically identify with him as your Savior willing to forsake everything for him!
Positive and Negative Statement
I will share a verse that is both positive and negative but 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 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 and follow Christ. Release your hold on the world, enjoy the benefits of following Christ
Jesus is Eternal and will alway be Significant