More than a Crowd
November 26, 2021
From the earliest days of His public ministry, there was certainly no shortage of people gathered around Jesus. Matthew says, “Great multitudes followed Him— from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”
This was a proper and reasonable response to the One that sincerely loved and cared for the people and He communicated this both in words and in deeds. Not one time did Jesus take advantage of anyone nor did He seek to manipulate and use people for any selfish gain. Fame was a result of His teaching and preaching. The officers said of Him, “No man ever spoke like this.” And then, there were the miracles and healings. With all of this, we can easily understand why so many crowds were continually present.
Luke 14:25-27 says, “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” And then Jesus went on to say, “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
These are, without question, startling and radical words. But words of truth, nonetheless. Jesus states it clearly that to be His disciple requires full allegiance, total commitment and a love for Him that supersedes the love of anyone else; including our own self. When Jesus used the word “hate,” He is not teaching disrespect and dishonor of anyone. He is the same God that said, “Honor your father and your mother.” But, in relation to Him, our love must be so much greater that if it comes to a choice, there is no question who or what we would choose.
Jesus was headed to Jerusalem to be crucified. The people that surrounded Him did not recognize who He really was; where He was headed and what the Father had sent Him to accomplish. Furthermore, they did not realize what it meant to connect and associate with Him in a lasting way. And that is how it is with multitudes of people today that are “with” Jesus, but not really knowing what it means to be a disciple.
To be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, then and now, requires more than a mental assent and mere belief in Him. He is not interested in acquiring large numbers of people around just to have a crowd. A call to follow Him is a call to commitment. Jesus was headed to the cross. And, He commands of all of them that follow Him to take up their cross, as well. A true disciple follows Christ to the cross by a denial of self, through growth in grace. Discipleship is not a singular event. It is an ongoing living relationship with the Savior, for now, and through His resurrection, forevermore. Jesus is not looking for a crowd, He wants disciples.
This article was first published in The Omaha Star (Vol.83 – No. 24) – November 26. 2021. © 2021, “God’s Word, Alive!” This article may be freely copied and distributed so long as the copyright notice and website address are included.
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