Will YOU Follow Jesus?

Daily Spirit & Word: 670:

Large Crowds Follow Jesus.

Jesus is calling YOU to be ONE of His Followers Today.

Good morning my friends, what an roller-coaster of a week I’ve had: Ups and Downs, but praise the LORD, it’s been going higher and higher, closer to Jesus after each little lull. My walk with Jesus is as if it’s a roller-coaster in reverse, but I know I’ll only reach the TOP when I get to Heaven and be with my Lord Jesus forever.

A funeral on Monday morning, an awesome meeting in the afternoon. A visit to the Dentist Tuesday and a meeting with the Mission’s Committee in the morning, Prep then Discipleship Fellowship in the Evening. Funeral visit in the morning, then Training and Street Evangelism on Wednesday, School Governors Meeting on Thursday and an amazing meeting on Friday with Bill and Judy in Costa. Fitted some family things in and also some shopping with Julie for our Burn’s Night Supper tomorrow. Yesterday we picked up the Grandchildren and it was to the park and hungry hippo cafe for a little drink afterwards. Last night Julie and I watched the film: War Horse (filmed on Dartmoor Devon at a location I know very well: Ditsworthy Warren farm). As well as meeting with Jesus every day and writing and studying God’s Word, my weeks been quite full and exciting. But it’s NOTHING in comparison with what Jesus experienced, that’s what we’re going to see today.

BTW: How’s your week been? Think it through for a few moments, note the highs and lows, those special times and how you’ve been in your walk with Jesus.

Today, Sunday, we’re back with the Gospel of Mark: This week you’ll notice some surprising contrasts. At the end of last week’s reading, Mark 3:1-6 we see the Jewish leaders and Religious elite plotting to kill Jesus, but this week we’ll note that the ordinary folks loved Jesus. So much so, that they thronged him: i.e. thousands of them came from many different towns to get close and possibly even touch Jesus.

Mark 3:7-19 (NIV)
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.
8  When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.
9  Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.
10  For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.
11  Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
12  But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
14  He appointed twelve—designating them apostles —that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15  and to have authority to drive out demons.
16  These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
17  James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);
18  Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot
19  and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

What an amazing difference in attitudes. 

  1. The Religious and Social Leaders: Rejected Him. Mark 3:6.
  2. The Crowds of Ordinary folks: thronged Him. Mark 3:7-10.
  3. The Demons: cried out in fear and recognised Him. Mark 3:11-12.
  4. The Disciples: Came to Him when He called them. Mark 3:13-19.

The CROWD:

I watched a Documentary a few weeks ago about Amy Winehouse: Her life was a Roller-Coaster too. So many highs; awesome voice, amazing records and songs, shows and awards. Adored by countless millions all over the world. Yet tragic; she couldn’t cope with life and it spiralled out of control: Drugs and Drink.

However, everywhere she went crowds thronged her; photographers every inch of the way, chronicling her slow decline and ultimate demise. Crowds of adoring fans thronged her every waking moment in life. Even when on holiday on the beach, people wanted to be snapped with their favourite STAR.

Have you ever been part of an huge crowd?

Why was this Crowd following Jesus? Verse 10 gives us the answer “For he had healed many”... The Crowds were coming to Jesus because they were desperate for a healing, for a touch, some to see a miracles performed for others, a few interested in what He had to say. They’d heard about the HEALINGS: News spread quickly and thousands came from all the towns, hamlets and cities around Lake Galilee.

The BOAT:

Jesus, knew he’d likely be thronged so he had a boat prepared.

Music stars and Famous people have great big body-guards to keep the crowds from getting too close and crushing their Celebrity Star. They have a Limousine ready to jump into to get away.

Jesus had a boat made ready to make his escape (The ancient equivalent of a Limousine). We know from other Gospels that it was Peter’s boat Jesus got into, and had to teach the crowds with a water barrier to stop them from pushing in too much and crushing Him to death in their desperation for a touch from the King.

Those crowds would have crushed Jesus if he hadn’t gotten into that boat.

The DEMON POSSESSED:

Read with me Mark 3:11-12 The Demons.
11  Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
12  But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.

I’m not going to say too much on the subject of DEMONS here, I’ll cover it in much grater detail in another section of Mark’s Gospel. Mark talks more about the DEMONIC than any other Gospel writer.

However, note this: The Demonic Underworld KNEW who Jesus was. “You are the Son of God”. But Jesus wasn’t interested in them spreading the Great News TOO SOON. So He commanded them to shut-up, keep quiet.

Jesus knew something about PEOPLE: They came in great crowds for healings, think how they’d flock to Him if He declared openly, before He’d had a chance to correct their misunderstanding of the Messiah’s reasons for coming? He would have had a full-scale WAR with the Romans and possibly thousands of people killed in a great war.

The Jews wanted the Messiah to come, they were waiting for deliverance from Roman oppression and conquest. If the Demon’s had their way, Jesus whole Mission could be in jeapordy. He didn’t want a war; He didn’t want people to die, He came to bring God’s Message of Good News and Die for EVERYONE; Jews first, then for everyone in the world who’d believe in Him. That was His mission: Declare Him Messiah too soon and it would be scuppered.

But: The Underworld, the Evil forces of Satan KNEW who Jesus was; “The Divine Son of God”… God on earth.

The DISCIPLES: Mark 3:13-19.

Jesus calls people out of all the people in Israel: He only appoints 12 to be His Apostles.

Think about that: Thousands were following Him. He only chose 12.

Surely He could have chosen many hundreds more, but He only chose 12… Why?

The Crowds were following Jesus for the wrong reasons. They were only following Jesus to get something for themselves: Healings, Miracles, Deliverance… They were not primarily interested in what Jesus had to say or teach them.

Jesus wanted people to KNOW God’s way to live life.

Jesus wanted people to KNOW God’s Mission and Call.

He chose the twelve: Simon (Peter), James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddeus, Simon (Zealot) and Judas.

Only Twelve: Not from the Nobility. Not from the Social Elite in Society. Not from the Religious Leaders; but ordinary folks, fishermen, tax collectors… What an outstanding and surprising choice Jesus made for the twelve Apostles.

They were not particularly good or religious or noteworthy in society, but these were the ones that Jesus called to be His Apostles.

What is an APOSTLE?

Apostle means: An apostle, from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος (apóstolos), meaning “one who is sent away”, is a messenger and ambassador. The purpose of such “sending away” is to convey messages, and thus “messenger” is a common alternative translation.

Explained in Mark 3:14-15  “He appointed twelve—designating them apostles —that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15  and to have authority to drive out demons.”

Apostles: Sent ones: 

  • Be with HIM: Learn from Jesus. Learn His Teachings / Commands / Instructions…
  • Go for HIM: Go out and tell the Good News of the Gospel: Heal and Deliver.
  • This Mission: The Apostolic Mission began after Jesus resurrection from the dead;

Mark 16:15-20 (NIV) The Great Commission.
15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16  Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

The Apostles: Called by Jesus by Name: Taught by Jesus and sent out by Jesus. Given His Authority and sent out on a Mission.

My friends, why are you following Jesus?

  • Are you part of the Crowd?
  • Are you like the Religious Leaders: Rejecting Jesus?
  • Are you like the Deomons, who knew who Jesus was, but enemies of Jesus?
  • Are you being called to be a Disciple: A follower of Jesus?

If you are being called, then He’s also given you a Mission too.

He’s got something He wants you to do for Him in this world today.

The REAL Follower of Jesus: (in contrast to the CROWD).

Won’t be in it for what He / She can get out of Jesus.

If all you want Jesus to do for you is save you from Hell, Judgement and to give you eternal life: You are NOT a true follower of Jesus today. You might be on the way to becoming one, but you are still just part of that CROWD who only wanted Jesus for what He could do for them.

You are a follower of Jesus, when there’s been a dynamic transformation in your attitude towards HIM:

“What can I do for you Jesus?” “I want to serve you Lord Jesus with my life”…

When you get to that point, then you’ll KNOW that you ARE a follower of Jesus Christ today.

The Disciples: The Apostles all died horrific deaths, John died a very old man in exile on the Isle of Patmos in Greece.

St Paul Said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”… He was beaten, stoned, and finally killed for Jesus and the Gospel.

We “Die to the world and live for Jesus”

Jesus said, “Unless you take up your cross and follow me”

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands”…

How and Why are you following Jesus today?

My friends, He’s calling you, He’s calling you by name, He wants you to be His Disciple, He’s got a mission for you to complete.

Will you come to Him? Will you come and give your life to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus today? Will you follow Him, learn from Him and then begin / continue serve Him with your life?

Respond: Recognise that you too are just like the Disciples He first called: Unworthy, yet called to repent and trust in Him.

Turn: Turn in Repentance: turn away from living your life for yourself. Your sin, your attitudes that are wrong. He died so that you can be forgiven and given a new start in life.

Receive: Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD: Your Saviour.

Be filled: With God’s Holy Spirit. Spiritual equipping for His service: Gifts of Holy Spirit

Be ready to serve Jesus with your life: Live the full life and go on the mission He’s given you.

Conclusion:

The Religious Elite Plotted, The Political Elite colluded, The Crowds wanted, The Demonic shouted, The Apostles were called by name and followed and were transformed, then sent on a Mission for Jesus: Who are you and why are you following Jesus today? Are you following Jesus?

I would say, “Don’t just follow Jesus to be one of the crowd, to see what He can do for you, or to observe a miracle or just to get your miracle or life sorted out for you, don’t just follow Jesus because He can give you forgiveness or a new life and eternal life and peace with God, but go deeper, be the Disciple He’s calling you to be. Only then will you begin to KNOW the fullness of life that Jesus promises when He called you.”

Up to now, you may have had a touch of His Holy Spirit, you might have been healed or seen healings, you might have received wonderful teaching, but NOW Jesus wants you to experience fullness of His life on Mission with Him. You just tell Jesus, “I’m ready to be one of Your Disciples Jesus, I want to go on Mission in this world for You” Be assured, He’ll take you and He’ll equip you for whatever He’s got planned.

Who know what Jesus has planned for you? Only Jesus knows His plans for each and every individual, but just say, like so many countless thousands have done before you, and been used to transform the world: Cadbury, John Newton, John Wesley, John Calvin, Charles finney, D. L. Mooday, Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon, Nicky Gumbel, J John, John Wimber, Fanny Crosby, Gladdys Ayelward (missions to China), Aimee McPherson (evangelist), J I Packer, John Stott, Rhinhard Bonnke, Ravi Zacharias, Daniel Cozens, David Watson,

From Our Church: Robert Rowe, Val Rowe, Prince, Chief George, David Bulbeck, David Wilson, Isaac, Elizabeth, Cherrie, Mary, John, Celestine, Sarah, Julie, Kofee, Wole, Stuart, Anthony, Theo, Candice, Sara, Maxine, Heron, ….

All I know is when Jesus Calls: It’s going to be so AWESOME and mind blowing.

Go DEEPER with Jesus today!

[Jesus said,] “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit”. John 15:5

God’s children do His will for His glory.

Jesus is the ONE: Who helps us accomplish everything for His glory.

  • The Religious Leaders and Social Elite: Rejected Him.

  • The Ordinary Folks: Thought they had Him.

  • The Demons: Feared Him.

  • The Disciples: Were called by HIM: Then they were with Him, Commissioned by Him, Sent out on Mission and Accompanied by HIM. What an awesome privilege to be one of those called by Jesus: He’s calling you too.

    • You?

You might be one who’s thinking: I would love to follow Jesus; but I don’t know enough yet. (Come on St Luke’s Alpha Course).

You might be one who’s thinking: I’ve been coming for a while, but now I’d really like to go on Mission for Jesus. (Then come and talk and discover how you can serve Jesus with your gifting).

You might be one who’s NOT willing or ready to respond to Jesus call today. (Keep coming, read God’s Word, ask Him to show you and speak to you through it, learn all you can about Jesus: He’s the ONE who’s calling you and can transform your life).

He’s calling YOU to be ONE of HIS right now!

Amen!