By: Scott Adkins
Carter County Times
How often do we hear folks reject the Gospel because, they say, Brother So & So over at the local church is a hypocrite? But that’s not what the Lord Jesus says. Rather, He says “[W]hom do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29); (Matthew 16:15); (Luke 9:20). That is—so far as each individual is concerned, the Lord Jesus is not concerned with what or who anyone else but Him might be. That is so because:
It’s Always Personal With Jesus
While the New Testament contains what might be called universal invitations, such Matthew 11:28, where Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and I will give your rest,” or “God has commanded all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30). But when the Lord Jesus invited or called folks to believe in Him, He did so personally, i.e., one-on-one, when He said, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19).
In John’s Gospel, chapter 21, Jesus told Peter that, after Peter grew old, Peter would give his life—be martyred—for the Gospel’s sake. Jesus concluded again with His personal invitation, telling Peter, “Follow Me.” (John 21:18-19). Peter looked at John and asked Jesus, “What shall this man do?” (John 21:21). Jesus replied, essentially, “What is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:22). So, back to the fellow who cites Brother So & So the local hypocrite as a sufficient excuse to not follow the Lord Jesus . . . that dog won’t hunt, not as far as the Lord Jesus is concerned. To that fellow, Jesus would say what He said to Peter: “What is that you to; you follow Me.” (John 21:22).
Nor would the Lord Jesus accept any excuse for delay in following Him. For example, one fellow came to the Lord and said, “Master, I will follow you wherever you go,” (Matthew 8:19). Another fellow then added, “Let me first go bury my father,” (Matthew 8:21). Jesus answered him: “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:22). A tax collector named Levi exemplifies the response the Lord Jesus seeks.
After healing a crippled man, Jesus made His way through town and came across Levi, a tax collector seated at his cash register. Jesus said to Levi, “Follow Me.” And without delay or excuse, Levi stood up; left his cash register; and “followed Him.” (Luke 5:27-28). Levi did so because Levi understood that the Lord Jesus accepts no excuses or delays when He invites an individual to follow Him. Levi understood that it’s always personal with Jesus.
/s/Sling ‘n Stone Ministry