What Does It Mean To Follow Jesus?
Updated: Jul 10, 2021
This is an outline that I am thinking of using when we travel to Indonesia this year. The focus is on the Beatitudes found in Jesus’ Sermon of the Mount. I hope it is beneficial. Matthew 5:3-12 (Text)
Discovering what it means to FOLLOW JESUS is not easy… This is because it means we have to “CHANGE.” “Change” in any culture is not easy! “Change” is always viewed as suspect. Just the idea of doing something different is often received with negative thoughts. (Just try changing pews once in a while.) We are creatures of habit, thus we are comfortable in our habits and routines. Thus we tend to fight against and kind of CHANGE.
Reading Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-33 we find that Jesus says, “Count the cost” because following Jesus involves “changes.” We cannot stay the way we are and follow Jesus. Christianity is not an accommodative religion. When Jesus says in Matt. 4:19 “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He is not inviting you to join a social club, or come and be entertained… He is calling us to be CHANGED! * Matt. 5 = where we begin to CHANGE. Notice that there are three steps up representing our “NEEDS,” there is a plateau at the top representing our “Filling,” and the lastly there are three steps down representing our “SERVICE.”
Everything in the Beatitudes has a purpose and a reason. All steps are progressive! You cannot pick and choose. All must start at the beginning and go through the process of “change!” To be a follower of Jesus means you are learning, growing, becoming… You can’t stay a baby forever, although some Christians insist on staying too close to where they started, and never grow up.
Read Heb. 5:11-12. 1. “Blessed are the poor in spirit….” Vs. 3 (Broken hearted) We understand what it means to be POOR! To be poor in spirit, means recognizing the poverty of own life as result of SIN and PRIDE. What is the result of sin and pride? EMPTINESS! For example take a glass and fill it. You can’t fill what’s already full right? NEED TO SEE HOW EMPTY WE ARE WITHOUT JESUS! In Lk. 15:11-32, The Prodigal Son… Would never come home without first seeing his EMPTINESS! The Kingdom (grace rule) of heaven under Jesus and all the blessings come (ie Filling the glass), as one begins here.
2. “Blessed are those who mourn…” Vs. 4 Grace becomes sweet to the one who sees his own sinfulness. “I have sinned.” We all have sinned, it’s just that we all don’t come to see how bad our condition is before God! Get some modeling clay, and put it in your hands… mold it, move it… this is good stuff! It should represent a good heart. “I’m ready for your hands Lord.” (Ready to be made!) Comforting comes because now you are depending on Jesus NOT SELF!
3. “Blessed are the meek…” Vs. 5 Meek is not weak… it is spiritual (inner) strength because it is depending on the power of God. Meekness is the molding, becoming strong process. Following Jesus involves MEEKNESS…(Opposite = PRIDE). Meekness is spiritual strength which comes from Jesus working in our lives… making us what He wants! It enables us to serve. John 13:1-5 Jesus washed disciples feet. This is not possible with a heart of pride! SERVICE!
4. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness…” Vs. 6 Jesus promises FILLING! Again get the glass, it should be empty… now you fill it again. There you have the idea. To be filled is the promise of Jesus. Can’t grow without going through the process!!! Don’t even try it. But going through this process of surrender, and turning to Jesus allows Him to have a vessel to FILL WITH HIS GOODNESS AND POWER. “Change” involves being emptied and then filled with Jesus. GOT TO GROW now!!!
5. “Blessed are the merciful…” Vs. Following Christ is not just having the HABIT OF WORSHIP! It involves relationships as well. It is a vertical as well as a horizontal relationship. The horizontal is impossible without the vertical. Can’t give what you don’t have! Seeing yourself, mourning, humbling yourself… seeking His righteousness helps in dealing with others… “I WANT MERCY!!!” So do others! How you treat others? Mercy or Justice!? People just need someone who understands them.
6. “Blessed are the pure in heart…” Vs. 8 Following Christ involves being pure in heart = Genuine/ no masks/ Illustration: “How are you? I’m fine.” (Actually we are not fine… that’s why we need each other in this journey following Christ! and changing together. We need to quit “playing church!” Family, Neighbors, on the Job… people need to see a GENUINE CHRISTIANITY! Notice I didn’t say, PERFECT! This only comes by taking the first 5 steps! To “See God” = To know Him… relationship/walk/talk/listen to and follow! The first and maybe the only time others see God, and His Son, is when they see Him in you!
7. “Blessed are the peace makers…” Vs.
9 What else would this person do? He SHARES what he has with Jesus… PEACE!
Following Christ means BECOMING LIKE JESUS!
Not a compromiser of truth, but one who knows truth and shares it. WARNING: Persecution ahead! Vs. 11-12 But that is part of the journey too! This person… the one who follows Jesus, allows Him to “make” and change him,
BECOMES SOMETHING SPECIAL… 1. SALT OF THE EARTH… Vs. 13 2. LIGHT OF THE WORLD… Vs. 14-16 The SECRET … YOU IN ME AND I IN YOU… (Table talks) John 14:16-20; John 15:1-8 The POWER … “Not my will but yours be done…” (Gethsemane) Lk. 22:42 The PURPOSE … “I will make you fishers of men.” Matt. 4:19