“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
We have read John 3:16 tons of times. It was the very first Bible verse that I was taught in church to memorize. I want you to think about the first time you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. What made you want to follow Jesus? I remember growing up and was taught the ABC’s – Admit, Believe, Confess. I remember the very first time I accepted Jesus. I was 13 years old and it was at a Disciple Now in Maryville, TN. I was brought up in front of the entire church and told everyone that I believed in Jesus and wanted to follow Him. I cried as I watched my parents walk up front to me.
Do you remember your first time? What attracted you to Jesus? The more I look at Jesus’ teachings, the more I see what He preached and what He said was….well….unattractive. Growing up, I was never taught to “eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood” (John 6:56). What about when Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). I mean, come on Jesus? Don’t you think you should soften Your teachings up just a LITTLE bit in order to get people somewhat attracted to You? No.
Jesus was so profound in His teachings, that it is EXACTLY what drew people to Him. It was radical…it was different…it was unattractive. Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man, died on the most unattractive cross ever made. Everything Jesus did was unattractive! But the thing is, is that somehow and someway, Jesus was so attractive in His unattractiveness. Only Jesus can do this!
We see more people today not answer the call to follow Him because “it’s too hard” or “I don’t want to give up myself” or “if God is so good, then why did this and this happen?” Jesus’ instruction were hard and unusual, but that’s the beauty of it! When you come to know Jesus and come to know God’s heart, you will begin to feel what He feels and see what He sees! Jesus was beautiful and amazing!
Yes, it’s hard to follow Jesus, but it’s so worth it! It’s worth denying ourselves. It’s worth giving up our desires and passions for His. It’s worth going into all the world making disciples. It’s worth knowing that no matter what happens to us here, we are promised eternal life! Remember what Jesus said, “if you ENDURE to the end, you will be saved.” The more I think about Jesus and read His Word, the more I fall in love with Him. Think about it…God sent His Only Son to die for your sins. What Jesus took upon Himself (all of our sin) was so UNATTRACTIVE that God Himself turned His face from Jesus. And the amazing thing is, is that Jesus took away the very sin of the people who was crucifying Him and THEY DIDN’T EVEN RECOGNIZE IT! Oh man, I am so thankful for what Jesus did for me and us on the Cross. That is why we worship Him…that is why we tell people about Him and what He did for everyone…that is why we mold our entire lives around Jesus!
Following Jesus is the most rewarding thing you will ever do. He is THE Truth, THE Life, and THE Way!