Why Follow Jesus?

3 Jul

Bruce Marchiano’s portrayal of Jesus in the Matthew movie.

When things are going well, when you have a salary that more than pays your bills from a job that brings professional satisfaction, your kids are doing well in school, and your friends and family bring nothing but enjoyment to your life, why in the world would you need Jesus? 

If we argue that religion is only necessary when circumstances are unfavorable, then we are missing the point. We also miss the point if we look to Jesus for moral guidance alone. Surely there are benefits to being aligned with Jesus, including physical and emotional healing, direction and purpose for our lives, and transformation from a life of sin to a life of purity.

But following Jesus is not about finding happiness, moral direction, or fixing things that may be broken in our lives. Following Jesus is about reconciliation with God. None of the other benefits of following Jesus come close to the power of forgiveness of sins. Without Him we are separated from God, bound for eternal punishment because there is no sufficient covering of our sins through our own efforts.

We follow Jesus because of who He is and what He has done for us. We can bring about many things on our own – we can create wealth, happiness, and purpose by the power of our own will and leveraging circumstances. God has endowed us with ingenuity and determination, and with a free will to direct our own path we can get along just fine without Jesus.

We cannot, however, cancel the debt that our sins have racked up. His blood shed for us makes us dependent on Jesus for salvation from eternal damnation. This is not a popular topic in our culture, but we cannot ignore it. Hebrews 9:14 reminds us,

‪How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

First John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” We follow Him because He reached into our lives first to cleanse us and to reconcile us to the Father. We may convince ourselves that we do not need His resources, that we can be self-sufficient and successful. Yet we cannot erase the consequences of our sins without Him, and for that reason alone we must follow Him, thanking Him with every breath and action for what He has done for us.


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