People seemed to follow Jesus wherever He went – to towns and villages, hills and mountainsides, streets and synagogues. Perhaps most went after Him to see the miracles and healings. Many might have been curious about his teachings. Some may have even been amused by His wisdom of the Torah and prophecy.
Despite the multitudes that pursued him daily, very few followers made the commitment to go with Jesus. Only a handful of disciples decided to walk away from the past, to leave family and friends, to give up homes and occupations, to sacrifice their own lives for the lives of others. In the end, just a small band of ordinary men were willing to surrender all they possessed for the hope of what was to come in eternity.
You and I have a choice to make today. We can follow Jesus or we can go with Him. We may watch and observe from a distance or we can be right next to Him, close enough to feel His touch, hear Him breathing and see the compassion in His eyes. We can be there when He prays to the Father and when He is tempted by the world. We can know Him intimately, as a friend, as a brother and as a Savior.
When we decide to go along with Jesus we do more than watch passively from afar. We become a part of His life and He becomes part of ours. What He does affects us and what we do affects Him. In essence, we are yoked with Him. There is no longer any space or separation between us because we are living together. We are both one in the Father.
There is a price for following Christ. But there also are blessings. Too often, we look so long at what we have to pay, to give up, because we are Christians that we forget about the benefits. We concentrate on the difficulties, the problems, the personal struggles or the intense suffering. Instead, we should be focused on what we have been given.
First, we have eternal life. God has promised us an everlasting future after this brief time on earth. Second, His mercy and forgiveness are assured no matter what happens each day. Third, God has planned our lives in a good and perfect way. Fourth, He is always with us through each attack and trial. Fifth, nothing will happen to us without His control and knowledge. Sixth, He gives us His strength, His power and His authority. Seventh, He protects us from the enemy so that we will not fall or fail.
How much more do we need in order to realize that we gain much more than we ever lose by serving God? Even those things that we sacrifice are turned into good through God. Everything that happens, whether we label it good or bad, points toward where we are headed, not where we have been.
Our sights must be firmly fixed on what we already possess and all that awaits us. Like Paul in his letter to the Philippians, we must consider everything worthless and unimportant “compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus.” All we forfeit now we will get back a thousand-fold in paradise. God's scale of justice is always weighted in our favor because of his unconditional love. We can never lose, nor will we ever be sold short.