By Deolu Akinyemi
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Matthew 5:1-3 MSG)
1. Jesus saw the crowds, and moved away from the crowd. We see the crowd, see the money and move towards the crowd.
2. Jesus saw the crowd following him to where it’s easy to meet with him, he decides to climb a mountain or hillside to make it more difficult so only the committed will follow. We see the crowd, and build bigger venues and more comfortable seats to accommodate the uncommitted.
3. Jesus saw the multitudes, but his primary interest were his disciples. We see our disciples, but our primary interest is the multitude (Luke 12:1).
4. Jesus saw the big men in the crowd, and asked them to go sell all they have, and only then come and follow him as his disciples. We see the influential people in the crowd and ask them to come as they are, and give to the ministry (Luke 18:22).
5. Jesus saw the crowd hungry, called his disciples together and gave the crowd bread, then the next day chased them away by offering them the eternal bread. We see the crowd, collect their bread, and next day we offer them invites to bring their friends to church next Sunday (John 6).
6. Jesus saw the crowds physically following him, and told them that if they really want to be his disciples they should let go of their loved ones, carry an instrument of torture and death in their minds and follow him. He told them that physical following is not following, but that following him is costly and they would indeed lose their lives (Luke 12:25-34).
We see the crowds physically following us, we assure them that they will never suffer, in fact they will enjoy and be in vogue because following us (certainly not Jesus) is hip. It’s a better life all round we tell them, they make it in his life, and then make it to heaven. The only cost is tithes, offerings and sometimes first fruits offerings.
I say “we”, so that you don’t think it’s a self righteous writer pointing fingers. I examine and judge myself, so that God’s judgements doesn’t come suddenly. If Jesus is our standard, and our commitment to him is God’s law, then most of the people who preach in His name need to explain who they are following. If you follow these men, you will be judged with them. We all have the opportunity to follow Jesus or follow men. Jesus said if you are not for me, you are against me (Matt 12:30).