What Does It Mean to Follow Him?

The Gospel of John Series #04: An exposition of John 1:35-51. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 14, 2010.

We’ve all had that experience of choosing up sides.  I remember those days in elementary school on the playground.  Clearly the goal was to win.  Winning wasn’t everything it was the only thing.  You choose those who will enable you to achieve the goal.  Friendship, feelings, relationships are out the window, this is war!  It was understood, if the game was a relay race I would be the last one chosen.  I was not swift of foot.  They timed me with a calendar.  But, if we were to engage in a tug-of-war, I was a first round draft choice.  “Tie a rope around Rodney and tell him to sit down they can’t move him.”  The goal determines the choosing.  Everyone knows that.  You choose those who are suited for the task.  That’s what is so confusing.  It made no sense.  When you consider those whom the Lord Jesus called out to be with Him, to form the foundation of His kingdom building enterprise, why this bunch?  They were an unlikely group.  It would seem that unlike the Marines our Lord isn’t very discriminating.  Unsophisticated, unlearned, unpolished not exactly the building blocks for a worldwide movement.  Then again a different principle was operating here.  This was no ordinary movement.

In John 1:35-51 we find John’s account of the early gathering of the disciples.  It has been suggested that the account in the 4th Gospel cannot be reconciled with the accounts in the other 3.  Attempts to harmonizes the accounts have failed.  But that assumes John and the other gospels are all talking about the same events.  I’m convinced that what is recorded in the opening chapter of John is a “first encounter” before their being “called” as disciples.  When you look carefully at the text our Lord doesn’t actually call anyone.  I believe that comes later and that would also explain how they so readily left everything to follow Him.  This morning I want us to explore John chapter 1 verses 35-51.

Text: John 1:35-51

Two things are clear to me in this account.

  • The disciples are at the “come and see” stage.
  • They are being told that they will see “greater things to come.”

This is an account of 5 men – each different, each with their own experience.

As we consider this account I want to seek out the timeless principles reflected in their encounters.  Are there some truths that are universal, that apply to all of those who would follow Christ?  I believe there are and I call your attention to three of them.
These matter because…

Thesis: Our Sovereign Lord is still in the business of graciously calling men and women to come follow Him.

3 characteristics of those who genuinely follow Christ.

  1. Genuine followers of Christ must come to grips with life’s fundamental question.  (1:35-39)
  2. Genuine followers of Christ are given a god-ordained potential.  (1:40-42)
  3. Genuine followers of Christ recognize the Lord Jesus as the “gate of heaven,” the fulfillment of the promise.  (1:43-51)

Our God is still in the business of calling men and women, boys and girls to follow Him.
What does it mean to follow Him?

  • It means to come to grips with life’s fundamental question – what do you want/desire?
  • It means you receive a god-ordained potential – made a new creation.
  • It means you recognize Jesus as the “gate of heaven” the fulfillment of the promise.

Where are you in the process?

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