Crowds of people followed Jesus, but did you know that only a few left everything behind, their jobs, family, dreams, and plans to go with Jesus? They sacrificed their own lives for the privilege of knowing Jesus personally.
You and I have that same choice everyday. According to Bruce Swaffield, we can either follow Jesus or we can go with Him. We can watch from afar or we can be so close to Him that we see the compassion in His eyes, feel the warmth of His touch, and the depth of His love. To have such intimacy with Jesus we must be willing to go with Him and to value Him above all else.
Throughout your life you’ve had many treasures. When you were small you may have treasured a favorite toy. As you grew, you lost interest in that toy when you discovered the opposite sex. Suddenly, some rock star on a poster captured your heart. Then, when you discovered he married, you tore up all your posters and mailed them back.
Along life’s way you’ve placed value on being in the school play or winning some blue ribbon; on family photo albums and your career. These things gave you joy and delight, but what about today? What meaning do they have? As life goes on we find new favorite things that all the time. Yet, more often than not we assign value to all the wrong things. There is nothing or no one who can compare to the worth of knowing Christ.
The apostle Paul finally understood this truth when we said, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Phil 3:8).
In other words, Paul took a big red maker and slashed the value of His education, trophies and accomplishments down to zero. To Paul, those things can’t compare to the matchless worth of Jesus. Think about it. Paul used to hate the Name of Jesus. Now he can barley put a value on Jesus and the privilege of knowing Him.
We can follow Jesus or we can go with Him when we value Him more above all.
When a person comes to the cross, they gain Christ and they are found in Him. Plus, they receive resurrection power from the dead and eternal life!
Let’s take a closer look at what we secure.
- You gain Christ: All that He is and all that He has.
- You are found in Him: You are clothed with the righteousness of God. What does that mean? Joseph M. Stowell explains it this way. Imagine the blazing white-hot fire that burns in the center of a star. Take that brilliance and slip it over your shoulders like a robe. When God looks at you He sees the radiance of His Son—His perfect, sinless, righteous Son.
- You gain resurrection power from the dead. That’s power not just for the next life but for the now
Is there anything in your life that compares to the value of knowing Christ? We once believed that to be true.
The day you came to the cross you laid all your trophies down for the sake of gaining Christ. You committed not to watch from afar but to go with Jesus. Remember that day? I don’t know what makes us return to our trophies, pick them up and dust them off and set them on the throne of our heart? But when Jesus feels distant we’ve shifted our focus. Perhaps today we need to make Jesus our vision again; to cling to the cross; to count everything else a loss for the sake of knowing Him up close and personal. The choice is ours. We can either follow Him or go with Him.