There were many times throughout the Gospels Jesus repeated these words, “Follow Me.” At times it was to call specific people such as Peter and Andrew, or Phillip and Matthew. There were other times, when people approached Him, announcing they were going to “follow Him”,…some with good intentions, some not so much. And then there was the crowds that only occasionally followed Him…but they were most times merely looking for dinner and a show. So what does it really mean to “Follow Me.” It starts with what is called believing trust…I believe that Jesus died for my sins and thus I will trust in Him. And as I trust in Him, I grow more and more like in Him everyday, following His example as how I should live. Finally, “Follow Me” grows into a life-long relationship with Jesus…a fellowship of faith and life… filled with love, peace, and hope.
It could have been me doubting the unbelievable story the women were recounting about the empty tomb, the angels, and their words – “He is Risen!” Now we usually just give the apostle Thomas the bad rap of doubting the resurrection…but in Luke 24: 9-11 it tells us that when the women came back from the empty tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others…but no one believed them, for their words seemed like nonsense. How many times had Jesus told the apostles about what was to happen? How He must suffer, die, and then be raised from the dead three days later. Still they did not believe it when it really happened. Yes, I could have easily been among those doubters when the words, “He is risen!” echoed across that room.
It could have been me among that group of dosing disciples. There they were in the Garden of Gethsemane, having just been warned by Jesus to watch and pray as He moved off to pray alone. Coming back to them, Jesus was dismayed to find them all sleeping and asked, “Are you sleeping? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you won’t fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Mark 14:38) Yes, it could have been me that Jesus found asleep. For how many times have I started to pray only to have my mind wander and become distracted after only a few minutes?
This story of Elisha is a foreshadowing of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – ( the only story, other than the Resurrection, that is found in all 4 Gospels). So it must have made quite an impact on the Disciples to witness a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish being multiplied into a huge meal for thousands. Comparing both stories, we see doubt and skepticism on the part of the faithful…people who had observed many miracles, but couldn’t fathom this one. We also see confidence and full trust in God that He would bless over and above. In both cases, there wasn’t just enough, there was plenty to go around…there wasn’t the bare minimum, there was excess to spare. For God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask, (Ephesians 3:20) and He desires to lavish His blessings on us…to the point of overflowing.
Jairus was the President of the Jewish Synagogue in Capernaum, but at this moment in time all his power and authority meant nothing to him… for he had a little daughter dying. He was desperate enough to actually plead with Jesus to come to his house and heal her. But it would get worse. While they were headed there, someone from Jairus’s household ran up to tell him his daughter had just died…but it would get worse. When they got to the house the scene was utter chaos with people weeping, wailing and milling around. That’s when Jesus took control of the situation…moving all the people out except for the parents, Peter, James, and John. He then took a hold of the child’s hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” And she did. So what practical application can we take from this story? When you’re going through tough times, position strong people of faith around you…people that can believe for breakthrough and won’t give up or become discouraged. It’s friends that will gather around you and pray when you may not have the strength or ability to. Finally, realize it may get worse before it gets better. But through it all Jesus is saying to you, “Don’t be frightened, just trust in Me.”
Jesus saw this blind beggar as an opportunity to heal a broken human being. But His disciples only saw him as a chance to debate the beggar’s situation…totally ignoring the man…they gathered around, talking about him rather than to him. As Believers, we love to talk about ministry work, out reach into the community, and other things we should be doing for the Lord. We’ll debate, plan, and call together committees…always talking about but never actually getting around to doing. The Lord is calling all of us to personal ministry…to rolling up our sleeves and ministering to that blind beggar sitting in front of us. He wants us to stop just talking about it and start doing something.
His time on earth was getting short and Jesus wanted His disciples to understand their mission. Everyday He had guided, demonstrated, and shown them what to do…to think outside the box of human nature. For this wasn’t the first time Jesus had fed a crowd with only a few loaves and fish…but the disciples still didn’t get it. The disciples had witnessed and actually helped distribute the food to that crowd…but when challenged to come up with a plan for this hungry group, they quickly reverted back to their humanness. How many times have you sold yourself short by your limited vision of what God could do? We need to be asking for God’s vision in our life, not ours…and we need to be thinking outside our “human” box and seeking God’s unlimited and miraculous vision instead.
That life-changing encounter with Jesus was the start of your journey as a Believer. You marveled at the grace, mercy, and loving kindness that was extended to you… a sinner that only deserved death. You became a recipient of the greatest gift ever…the free gift of eternal life. But for many of us we stop there, never sharing this Good News with others. We instead hold tightly to this gift refusing to share…desiring to just keep it to ourselves. But Paul tells us in this verse that first we are a receiver, but then we become a messenger… an ambassador for Christ, telling others about Him. Paul goes on in I Corinthians 11:2, ” I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” How can we keep such wonderful, life-changing news to ourselves? The Lord wants us to pass it on to others. So today, tell someone how Jesus is working in your life.
Jesus had just rebuked the storm and now all was peaceful and calm on the Sea of Galilee. With only a few words, the fierce winds and raging storm had ceased. But why were His disciples so dumbfounded and astonished at what Jesus had done? After all, they had been witnessing countless miracles as they traveled with him. But like us, when the storm hit their lives personally…they panicked. When we’re hit broad-side and without warning with the storms of life…we panic. We suddenly are battered by the winds of anxiety and will succumb under the waves of fear. It’s then we need to reach out our hands to Jesus for help…for it tells us in Psalm 107:29, ” He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed.” May the Lord of the universe calm the storm in your life today.