Family Bible Study lesson: Following Jesus
February 9 2001 by William (Mac) McElrath , Mark 1:16-20; 2:13-17; 3:13-19

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 25: Following Jesus | Friday, Feb. 9, 2001
  • Jesus demands that we acknowledge His absolute authority over our lives.
  • Jesus promises that as we make this absolute commitment, we will find healing grace and forgiveness in Him.
  • Jesus calls for our lifelong loyalty, for as we abide in Him, we will experience life in all its fullness.
  • Friday, Feb. 9, 2001

    Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 25: Following Jesus

    By William (Mac) McElrath Mark 1:16-20; 2:13-17; 3:13-19 Have you ever heard the old saying, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day"? Jesus knew that a sermon seen may carry far more impact than a sermon heard. He called four commercial fishermen to follow Him, saying as He did so, "I've got bigger fish for you to catch." He sat down at a dinner table with people considered moral lepers, saying that He had come as a divine doctor to heal sinners and call them to a changed lifestyle. He started a brand-new People of God with 12 individuals, just as the old-time People of God had been started with 12 sons of Jacob.

    What does it really mean to follow Jesus? It still means the same as it did 20 centuries ago. Let three brief passages from the first three chapters of Mark's Gospel challenge us to consider whether we are truly following Jesus today!

    Have you acknowledged His authority? (Mark 1:16-20)

    Perhaps you've read in magazine or newspaper articles that many people of today have a problem with the concepts of authority, commitment and loyalty. Is this problem really that much greater than it was in the time of Jesus?

    Consider what Jesus asked of those two pairs of Galilean fishermen. He asked them to leave behind their homes, their families, the only means of livelihood they'd ever known and follow Him.

    Follow Him where? He didn't say. Jesus demanded that they accept His absolute authority over their lives. He challenged them to make a commitment, to give Him their unquestioning loyalty.

    Jesus throws out the same challenge, and He issues the same demand today. Do we dare to follow Him? Do we dare to give up control over our own lives?

    Have you accepted His grace? (Mark 2:13-17)

    Jesus can make such uncompromising demands of His followers because of what He offers them in return. This fact becomes clearer in these verses about the calling of Levi, better known as Matthew.

    Levi was a thieving tax-collector, a collaborator with the foreign power that was oppressing his own people, a man bent on getting rich by impoverishing others. Yet Jesus graciously included Levi among those He called to become His followers.

    Do you have a problem accepting the grace of Jesus? Do you have a sneaking suspicion that if He really knew what you're like inside, then He wouldn't want to have anything to do with you?

    Here's news for us. He does know, and He does want us to follow Him.

    The "churchgoers" of Jesus' time, those who faithfully kept all the rules of their religion, had a hard time with this. Jesus had to point out to them who needs a doctor: sick people. Ironically, those "righteous" (self-righteous) people needed the healing grace of Jesus as much as anybody: They just wouldn't admit it.

    Are you abiding in His presence? (Mark 3:13-19)

    During the days of His ministry in Galilee, Jesus had many disciples - far more than 12. But He selected 12 from among those many disciples "that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach" (Mark 3:14, NIV). That's why He called these 12 special disciples His "apostles," for this word means "the sent-out ones."

    Before the sending out, however, would come the time to abide in Jesus' presence. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have walked and talked with the Lord Jesus Himself for those three blessed years!

    Do you find yourself thinking that it would surely be easier to follow Jesus today if your experience could somehow replicate the apostles' experience?

    We have the opportunity to know far more about Jesus than those disciples did. The gospels state again and again that the Twelve did not understand who Jesus was or what He was teaching them. We, on the other hand, have the benefit of the entire New Testament, plus the testimonies of all those who have been following Jesus for lo these 2,000 years.

    "But that's not the same as a personal acquaintance with Jesus," we may be protesting. No, it's not. Yet we have the opportunity to go to Jesus in prayer anytime, anywhere, for Jesus is no longer bound to a physical presence as He was during those long-ago days in Galilee.

    It comes back down to those same problematical words: authority, commitment, loyalty.

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    2/9/2001 12:00:00 AM by William (Mac) McElrath , Mark 1:16-20; 2:13-17; 3:13-19 | with 0 comments
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