Why Do You Follow Jesus


John 6

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

The time setting of this passage is unclear, but we know that it follows Jesus’ time in Bethesda where He had healed the invalid. I am sure this is where the great crowd of people came from. The “people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.” From this statement, we know their motive in following Jesus, but Why Do You Follow Jesus if you do at all?

Let’s face it. We all follow someone for different reasons. The heart of one’s motive in following Jesus is intensified because of who He is, the Son of God and God incarnate. I am convinced that people follow Jesus for a variety of reasons. What does follow mean? According to dictionary.com, the following definitions were given:

1.  to come after in sequence, order of time, etc.
2. to go or come after; move behind in the same direction
3. to accept as a guide or leader; accept the authority of or give allegiance to
4. to conform to, comply with, or act in accordance with; obey: to follow orders; to follow advice.
5. to imitate or copy; use as an exemplar

The people in this passage followed Jesus because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. All those who follow Jesus follow because of what Jesus gives, but that is the only similarity. Some follow Jesus just to get something from Him that they perceive is only for their good. When the difficult times arise, they abandon Jesus because they were only following for what is convenient, for that which just meets an immediate need.

In the definitions above, the people in this chapter followed (2) Jesus meaning that they moved in the same direction to get to where He was going. Those type only follow Jesus’ position in proximity and for convenience but not for an inward change. On the other hand, true followers pursue Jesus to become like him (3, 4, 5). True believers are accept Jesus as guide, leader and the authoritative figure for their lives. It means that they are willing to conform or comply with the principles taught in His Word in efforts to imitate His behavior. For them, Jesus is the exemplar.

Why Do You Follow Jesus if you do at all? Truly, only God and you knows. Our motives will be revealed when Jesus returns. Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Those who have done what is good (follow Jesus as leader and exemplar) will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

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