Human history is marked by individuals who implemented change. People such as Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King dedicated their time to helping vulnerable people of society. Games-changers always gather a crowd; they grab the attention of anyone willing to listen and even from those who show little support. In our world of digital progress, anyone can gain a following by the simple click of a button.
During His time on earth Jesus had many followers as well as opposition. Some men and women were offended by Jesus; others were astounded and encouraged by His compassion for the sick and poor. In Matthew 4, Jesus begins His ministry ‘proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people’ (V 23). It’s no surprise that Jesus was known throughout Syria and that crowds followed Him. One could say that Jesus was a type of celebrity, who stirred up curiosity and wonder in the hearts of those willing to listen and believe that He is God.
Jesus had disciples who believed in His message of the gospel. They followed His lead and learned from His example of how to spread God’s word, and had first-hand experience in feeding the hungry and healing many. When found and given an invitation to follow Jesus, Philip sought out Nathanael, who posed this question: ‘can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ (John 1:46). Naturally, Nathanael was doubtful. Can you imagine being told that God, some guy from Nazareth, was just around the corner and He could change your life for the better? Philip’s response was ‘come and see’. When in the presence of Jesus, Nathanael was surprised that He already knew him and ‘saw him underneath the fig tree’ (V 48). This exchange seems insignificant at first. But God, in His loving nature, sees into the depths of our being. You might not know God; however, He has always known you.
I’ve often heard in church that God is a perfect gentleman. He patiently waits for you. All you have to do is except His invitation, step out and see what life could look like as you follow Him. Many voices compete for our attention; however, in life’s business, are we willing to pause for a moment to discern which voice belongs to Jesus? Like Nathanael, are we willing to acknowledge Jesus as Lord?
When we follow Jesus, we witness ‘great(er) things’ (John 14:12) done in His name, and we enjoy a full life. However, drawing from my small experience and hearing about the circumstances of others, a life lived for Christ isn’t easy, and the cost is sometimes small as well as large. But Jesus promises to be with us, and our life is better with than without Him.
John 16:33: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
So, maybe you’ve noticed the beauty of nature or the intricacy of the human body. I pray that through all this and even in your uncertainties about God, you would be like Nathanael and follow Christ as you meet His real presence. Amen.
By Chermaine Sowah