The 13th Disciple…What does it mean to follow Jesus?
The Rich Young Ruler came to Jesus and asked what it would take to follow Him and receive eternal life. Jesus replied, “’If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property” (Matthew 19:21-22 NASB).
Knowing the Rich Young Ruler’s heart, Jesus addressed the issue of money. But the truth in this story is not about money, it is about the need to be self-sufficient. The Rich Young Ruler “was responsible for much”, he didn’t have time to drop everything and follow Jesus. Self-sufficiency is our dependency on ourselves to take care of things, to control our environment, to provide for our families, to feel secure. The Rich Young Ruler didn’t become the 13th Disciple because he wasn’t able to give up what made him feel secure – money and responsibility. For us to be complete, we must surrender our self-dependency and trust Jesus to provide everything we need in life.
Following Jesus is not safe. Jesus demands a radical life change when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Our need for Jesus must become larger than our need for security.
Have you made that change? I haven’t.
My life has been radically changed by Christ, and like the Rich Young Ruler, I do my best to keep all the laws of scripture. But when it comes to the true meaning of following Jesus, I follow Jesus when it is convenient. I have fit the work of Jesus in, around my life, making sure not to upset the balance of home, family, finances, or fun. I have done a pretty good job of “having it all”.
But Jesus never called us to have it all. That is the language of the world. Jesus calls us, just like he did the twelve disciples who left everything to work beside Jesus and bring light to a dark world.
Becoming the 13th disciple means surrendering all that we want to control, all that makes us comfortable and secure, and trusting Jesus to do something miraculous in and through our lives that will change the world.
Are you ready?
If you are, ask Jesus the same question the Rich Young Ruler asked: What will it take to follow you?