When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.
— Matthew 8:18 NLT
As we will see a few verses later, Jesus went with his disciples across the lake. He had this intriguing habit of withdrawing from the crowds. At first glance, we want to correct him, and remind him, that he is trying to win the world for God. How is he going to do that by running away from folks who are seeking him? Then we realize how ludicrous such a thought is, and we realize the audacity of even thinking we could give him advice. Hopefully, this insight will lead to conviction. Jesus wasn't primarily trying to gain an audience; he was trying to prepare an army. He was not trying to gain a following; he wanted to forge devoted friends in faith. He didn't need "hangers on"; he was looking for hope-filled disciples. A disciple, a true follower, doesn't just go around listening to all the neat stuff the Teacher says. No, a true disciple is going to become like the Teacher. In the process of becoming like the Teacher, the true follower will be confused, amazed, bewildered, astounded, tested, saved, broken, encouraged, exposed, protected ... Jesus' goal for his disciples was to make true followers. He wasn't interested in a big church membership roll for the sake of numbers; he wanted committed followers! That is as radical today as it was then. Yes, true followers will be church members, but they're also going to be a lot more. They're going to live to share Jesus' life with others and teach them how to live it.
O majestic Lord, forgive me for wanting the easy way and the popular discipleship. Today I'm asking for your help to become a true follower of Jesus, displaying his character and living by his values. In Christ's name, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- John 6:15, 66-69
- Luke 6:40
- Mark 1:27-38
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Wednesday, April 7, 2021
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.