"Everything I have is yours," we say to Jesus. "What about that thing you're hiding behind your back?" Jesus asks...
Jesus hears some pretty funny excuses when he calls followers to him in Luke 9. Likewise, when people choose their favorite thing over the pearl of great price, I'm reminded of a vaudeville comedy routine. I'd laugh more loudly, except I'm too busy acting out my own leading role in the idolatry play.
This post is about how we can respond to Jesus's call, and what we have to gain. [Excerpt from the new Teen Edition of Kyle Idleman's Not a Fan (Teen Edition): What Does It Mean to Really Follow Jesus (eBook).] -Adam Forrest, Zondervan
You, me and the Knights Templar
I was reading about a strange baptism practice that was allowed by the church when the Knights of Templar would be baptized. When the church would baptize one of the knights, they would be baptized with their sword, but they wouldn't take their swords under water with them. Instead they would hold their swords up out of the water while the rest of them would be immersed. It was the knights' way of saying to Jesus, "You can have control of me but you can't have this. Jesus, I'm all yours, but who I am and what I do on the battlefield, how I use this sword, that's not part of the deal" ...
If that was still the practice today, we might not hold up a sword, but my guess is that many would hold up a wallet. Some would hold up a remote control. Others would hold up a laptop.
Many fans say to Jesus, 'Anything and everything I have, I give to you.' But Jesus points to what you're hiding behind your back and says, 'What about that?'
Many fans say to Jesus, "I will follow. Anything and everything I have, I give to you." But Jesus points to what you're hiding behind your back and says, "What about that?" For Nicodemus it was a religious reputation. For the Rich Young Ruler it was his stuff. For this man it seems to be his family relationships that held him back. They are willing to follow Jesus, but the relationship isn't exclusive. They're holding on to some things from the past.
Jesus doesn't want followers who have a divided affection or a split allegiance. And so Jesus points to what you most value and are most concerned about, and says, "What about that?"
For Pam, Jesus was asking, "What about food?" For years she turned to food rather than Jesus as her source of comfort and satisfaction. She finally realized she couldn't call herself a follower of Jesus if she was unwilling to surrender this area of her life to him.
Steve said, "I want to follow Jesus with everything." And Jesus asked, "What about your entertainment choices?" Steve wanted to be a follower of Jesus, but for a long time he kept looking back to television shows and internet sites that filled him with lust. He wanted to follow Jesus, but not with both hands on the plow; he kept looking back.
Jesus says to Stephanie, "What about your friends?" Stephanie called herself a follower of Jesus, but her life didn't revolve around Jesus. Her life revolved around her friends. Her friends were where she found her greatest joy. Her friends determined whether it was a good day or a bad day.
To Doug, Jesus asks, "What about your money?" Over the years Doug had found his identify and self-worth not in being a follower of Jesus, but in money and the things money could buy. With a downturn in the economy Doug has begun to realize that though he said he would follow Jesus, he has spent most of his time and given most of his attention to looking back...
Why does Jesus want followers to surrender everything?
Please understand: Jesus loves you so much. He died to have a relationship with you. He will not share your heart with anyone. He will settle for nothing less than your complete devotion and heartfelt affection. He made no compromises when he came and gave his life up for you, and he takes no compromises now as he asks you to do the same.
The reason Jesus is so adamant about followers surrendering everything is because the reality is this: the one thing we are most reluctant to give up is the one thing that has the most potential to become a substitute for him. Really what we're talking about here is idolatry. When we are to be following Jesus, who is ahead of us, but find ourselves looking behind us, we are revealing that we are substituting something or someone for him.
When we finally surrender that one thing, we discover the satisfaction that comes from following Jesus that was always missing when we were holding something back.
- Kyle Idleman (@kyleidleman)
Learn more about the new Not a Fan (Teen Edition): What Does It Mean to Really Follow Jesus? [eBook]. (You may already be familiar with Kyle Idleman's original book Not a Fan.)
(Some styling above is a web-exclusive feature not included in the text of Not a Fan (Teen Edition). This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer's personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)