The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Garibaldi, the great Italian military hero from the 19th century, raised an incredibly committed volunteer army. His appeal for recruits was rather unique as he offered only these terms: "I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles, and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart and not with his lips only, follow me!"
(From a sermon by Bobby Stults, Followship - The Essence of TRUE Fellowship, 11/6/2010)
“Forsaken all others” are enshrined in the marital vows taken by most couples during their wedding ceremony. These words demand life-long commitment and surrender from those who enter the covenant of marriage. They originate from Genesis 2:24, where God said the man shall leave his father and mother and unite with his wife so they can become on flesh.
In our covenantal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are also called to forsake all others. Indeed, the only way we can have a right relationship with God is by forsaking all others and uniting with God through His Holy Spirit that resides in our hearts. The only way we can experience the fullness of God is by committing our lives to Him completely.
In today’s text, two of the disciples of John the Baptist decided to follow Jesus. This was an unusual thing to do because John was a well-respected teacher and disciple-maker. Yet, John the Baptist did not try to stop his disciples from following Jesus. In fact, John the Baptist appears to have given his permission to the two disciples to follow Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the Lamb of God and He alone we should follow.
Following Jesus can be challenging at times. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” As stated in today’s illustration, “The Son of God came to earth, to bring salvation and train up disciples to carry the Gospel of Salvation to the world. Jesus invites you to be His disciple, but His invitation is for YOU to join HIM! It is NOT a request by Him to join you where you are... Jesus lets us know up front that there is a disciplined commitment that is going to cost you everything. The road walking with Jesus IS not going to be easy. To paraphrase Garibaldi, "Let him who loves the Lord with his heart and not with his lips only, be Jesus' disciple!"
The requirement for true discipleship is “forsaking all others” and following the Lord. Mark Batterson said in his book: “All In” – “Most people in most churches think they are following Jesus, but I’m not so sure. They may think they are following Jesus, but the reality is this: they have invited Jesus to follow them.” Too many times I want Jesus to follow me, to serve my purposes, to do my will. (David Simpson, March 23, 2017)
I want to end today’s devotional with a renewal of my discipleship vow to Jesus:
"I, Dieuner Joseph take Jesus Christ to be my Savior and my Lord, and I do promise to forsake all others from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, to serve, to obey, and to love with all of my heart, body, mind, and soul, before God and the heavenly hosts, as long as I shall live.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What do you need to forsake to follow Jesus faithfully?
What does it mean to you to follow Jesus?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, as I renew my vows with you, please help me to be faithful to you all the days of my life. May my love for you grow stronger every day. Help me to be true to my vow to you when the temptations of the world and the desires of my flesh are trying to pull me away from you. May my love for you never fade so I can remain in a relationship of loving union with you, as long as I shall live