Why We Follow Jesus
A few devotional thoughts on John 6:22–32
22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
After the feeding of five thousand Jesus slipped away to a mountain to pray. The crowd watched the disciples board a boat and sail to the other side without Jesus on board. An eventful night transpired for our Lord and his twelve while the multitude slept unaware. There was a great storm that night that endangered the disciples, a Savior strolling across the waves and of course his stilling of the storm. It took a while for the people to realize that Jesus was no longer with them but when they did, they went searching.
I suppose on the surface there is much for which to commend this crowd. They missed the master. They went searching for him. They followed.
When they finally found the Lord with his disciples on the other side of the lake, they asked the question, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
Jesus didn’t answer their question about when he had come but instead he dealt with why they had come.
Jesus said, “verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled”(vs. 26)
He understood that they were not really concerned about his movements, they only wanted more bread. They had followed the Lord to the other side of the water for the wrong reason. Instead of recognizing the meaning of the miracles that should have revealed his identity as the Son of God, they only sought for more physical blessings. We see in this passage that Jesus does care about our reason for following him. True, he wants us to follow him but he wants us to do so because we want more of him.
Jesus cares about why we follow
In the book of Job we find a conversation between Satan and the Lord. God himself mentions Job and brags on his servant, “have you considered my servant Job that there is none like him in all the earth?” Satan’s response was an insult. He asked God to remove the hedge of protection that was around Job and then said, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:11) For many years I thought this was an insult to the character of Job but now I understand that it was actually an insult aimed toward God. Basically, the Devil had claimed that Job only served God because of the reward, that the Lord could only buy his friends And followers.
Do you see why our motives for following Jesus are so important? Would you want friends and family that you had to buy their affection?
Recently, I was touched by the statement a famous Christian entertainer released to the public. The twenty one year old son of Kevin Michael McKeehan who is known as TobyMac was found dead. This is what the artist and his wife had to say In this unbelievable time of sorrow,
“My wife and I would want the world to know this...
We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor.
He is the God of the hills and the valleys.
And He is beautiful above all things.”
At a time when they might be tempted to turn away from their faith, this couple made the decision to turn toward their Savior and follow him anyway and anywhere he leads. Why you follow is important to Jesus.
Recently I have been forced to look in the mirror and ask myself if I will continue to follow the Lord if some bad things in my life don’t change. If he chooses to not intervene will I become angry or continue to draw close? I hope that he finds me faithful no matter what transpires. He deserves my complete loyalty. He doesn’t deserve just another mercenary. I understand, it matters why I follow him.
What about you? Why are you following Jesus?