What it Takes to Follow Jesus

Matthew 8:21-22
“And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

Five times in this chapter the words “follow” or “followed” are used. It is important to the LORD that the believer follows Him. Children often sing, “I will make you fishers of men, if you follow me.” We often sing the song, “Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus! Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on!” These songs are certainly wonderful songs, and the truths they present are absolutely true, but many don’t understand the cost of following Jesus. It wasn’t always easy every time Jesus asked someone to follow Him and every time someone chose to follow Him. In this chapter, Jesus shows five things that it takes to follow Him.

First, following Jesus will cause you to be around undesirable people. Following Jesus often doesn’t take you to the most popular crowd, but it often takes you into an undesirable crowd. In Matthew 8:1, following Jesus took them to a man who had leprosy; the most undesired and feared disease of that day. If you want to follow Jesus, you can expect Him to lead you to those who have been broken and made sick by sin, but you will find that watching their lives be healed by the Gospel is worth you following Him to the undesirables of life.

Second, following Jesus takes faith. In verse 10, it took faith to follow Jesus. You will never follow Jesus successfully without having to step out by faith. The pathway that Jesus leads the believer is a pathway that requires faith. You cannot follow Jesus’ footsteps without walking in footsteps of faith.

Third, following Jesus sometimes causes you to have to do without. Jesus revealed in verse 19 that if they followed Him, they would have to sleep in the field. You will often find that following Jesus will cause you to have to do without the world’s possessions and fancies. I am not saying that God won’t bless you financially, but I am saying that following Jesus often causes you to have to give up the world’s comforts.

Fourth, following Jesus will cause you to be misunderstood. In verse 22, Jesus told the man who wanted to follow Him that he needed to let the dead bury the dead. People living in the flesh will never understand the blessing of sacrifice that it takes to follow Christ. If you want to follow Christ, you must be willing to be misunderstood by those who are closest to you. Many times family will try to do an intervention to keep you from following Christ, but you mustn’t let their lack of understanding of what you are doing stop you from following Christ.

Fifth, following Jesus sometimes brings storms. When the disciples followed Jesus in verse 23, they followed Him into stormy waters. It won’t always be easy to follow the LORD. There are times when following Jesus puts you at risk. Following Jesus isn’t always easy, but the presence of who you follow is worth the enduring of the storms that His footsteps will take you through.

So you really want to follow Christ? If you do, you will find these five things will occur as you follow Him. However, the price you must pay to follow Christ will seem minuscule compared to the presence you get to enjoy while following Him. My friend, I have never regretted following Christ. Yes, at times it has been rough, but to be by His side through each struggle is worth the sacrifice.

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