Come After Jesus
‘Come and follow Me.’—Matt. xix. 21.
FOLLOWING is the only proof of coming.1 There is hardly a commoner lamentation than this: ‘I do not know whether I have come or not!” And nobody ever says that with a happy smile. It is always with a dismal look; and no wonder! When so much hinges upon it,—poverty or riches, safety or danger, life or death,—uncertainty must and will be miserable. Now, do you really want to know whether you have come or not? Our Lord gives you the test, ‘Come and follow Me!”
If you are willing for that, willing with the will that issues in act and deed, then the coming is real.’
1 Ezek. xxxiii. 31. 2 i Kings xviii. 2x.
3 John X. 27. 4Matt. xx. 34.
If you are not willing to follow, then you may dismiss at once any idea that perhaps you have come or are coming: there is no reality in it, and there is nothing for you but to go away sorrowful, as the rich young man did, who ‘ came,’ but would not’ follow.’1
The following will be just as real and definite as the coming, if there is any reality in you at all; and if you are not deluding yourself with a deceitful cloudland of sentimental religion, without foundation and without substance, which is but a refuge of lies which the hail shall sweep away.2 Do not sit down in this most serious state of uncertainty, but ‘give diligence to make your calling and election sure.’8
But you say, ‘How am I to know whether I am following?’ Well, following is not standing still. Clearly it is not staying just where you always were. You cannot follow one thing without coming away from something else.4 Apply this test. What have you left for Jesus?5 What have you left off doing for His sake ?6 If you are moving onward, some things must be left behind. What are ‘ the things which are behind’7 in your life? If the supposed coming has made no difference in your practical daily life,8 do not flatter yourself that you have ever yet really come at all.9 Jesus says, ‘ If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’10 What light does that saying throw upon your case? Be honest about it; all true coming to Jesus must issue in thus coming after Him.11
1 Matt. xix. 29. 2 Isa. xxviii. 17. 3 2 Pet. i. 10.
4 Rom. vi. 2,4,13, 22. 5 Matt. iv. 18-20. 6 Matt. ix. 9.
f Phil. iii. 13. 8 Matt. vii. 21. 9 2 Cor. v. 17.
10 Matt. xvi. 24. 11 Luke xiv. 27.
Then look at it from the positive side. He has left us ‘ an example that ye should follow His steps.’1 As the beautiful collect puts it, ‘ Give us grace that we may daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of His most holy life.” Now, what are those steps? Perhaps you are not even looking to see what they are, let alone following them! Following the steps is quite a different thing from thinking to follow one’s own idea of the general direction of a course. If you would only take one Gospel, and read it through with the earnest pur pose of noting, by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, what the steps of Jesus are, you would soon see clearly whether you are following or not,” far more clearly than by reading any amount of books about it, or consulting any number of human counsellors. Take for to-day only one indication of what those steps were. ‘Who went about doing good.’* Do your steps correspond with that ?5 It is not,’went about doing no harm,’ but actively and positively ‘doing good.’
Oh, dear friends, they are ‘ blessed ‘ steps in all senses of the word! For His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all His paths are peace.* Once fairly and fully entered, the paradox is always solved, the self-denial is lost in the greater joy of pleasing Him,’ the cross becomes a sceptre in the hand of His ‘ kings and priests.’8 Then you shall ‘continue following the Lord your God.” And the end of the following is, ‘ that where I am, there shall also My servant be.”
11 Pet. ii. 21. 2 John xiii, 15. 3 Matt. xi. 29.
4 Acts X. 38, 5 I John ii. 6. 6 Prov. iii. 17.
7 Phil. iii. 7. 8 Rev. i. 6.