Following Jesus Christ

Seven reasons to follow Jesus

People follow all sorts of leaders – footballers, pop stars, celebrities, political leaders, religious leaders. these leaders don’t always lead their followers the right way, but there is one leader we always should follow. He leads us the right way. He said, “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness”. ( John 12:46)

His name is Jesus. I am going to give seven reasons why we should follow Jesus:

1) Because he teaches the right way to live

In the Sermon on Mount Jesus told us the way to live: Don’t take the way of violence and retaliation, defeat evil with good, don’t hold grudges, forgive those who sin against you, give to those in need, love your neighbour, love your enemy, don’t practice your religion to show off to others, don’t be anxious about life but trust in God. Don’t judge others, obey my teachings.

All this is the most wonderful teaching the world has ever seen. If only people would live like that – there would be no wars or strife, no robbery or exploitation. Become a follower of Jesus and seek to live his way.
2) Because he defeated death

If you are interested in the great religious and philosophical leaders of the world you can visit their  tombs. You can go to the tomb of Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery. You can visit the tomb of Buddha or Muhammed. All these men died and were buried. Jesus died and was buried too – but he came back from the dead.

In Jerusalem you will be shown two sites which claim to be the burial place of Jesus. I don’t know which one is the true one, but I do know that both are empty. The body of Jesus is nowhere to be seen.

He is alive! That’s why you can follow him – because he is still alive in heaven. And He has defeated death and offers eternal life to all who follow  him.

3) Because of  his claims

“I am the light of the world”
“I am the way and the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father but by me”.

He also describes himself as the Son of God. Now when someone makes that kind of claim you usually assume that they are mad. Or if not mad, then bad. They are trying to deceive gullible followers and get money out of them. The only other explanation is that the person really is the Son of God – really is divine.

Well then, was Jesus mad, bad or God?  He was not mad – he was the sanest person who ever lived.His teaching was sanity itself. He healed people of madness. And he certainly was not bad, He went around doing good. His life was sinless. Not even his enemies could accuse him of wrongdoing – they had to resort to false testimony.

If he wasn’t mad, he wasn’t bad, then he had to be God. He is God’s son – that is why we follow him.

4) Because he deals with the biggest problems of life

Life greatest problem is that of guilt. Not many people recognise this – they are in denial. They repress their guilt and embark on a whirl of pleasure-seeking to deaden the emptiness inside.  They run after money, power, sex, drugs, drink. Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, to remove our guilt, to give us a clear conscience and peace of mind.

Another great problem is that of pointlessness. What is life all for? We live 70, 80 or 90 years, and then we die. Then what? Jesus give purpose to life. He says, “Follow me and you will live a purpose-filled life of service. You will find satisfaction and at the end of it you will be with me for ever – continuing your life of service and praise to God.

5) Because he changes things

Christianity has changed the world. Our whole life-style here in the West has been moulded by the Christian tradition. All the things we so value – freedom of religion and speech, education, democracy, the welfare state, caring for the sick, all have their roots in the Christian faith. Jesus tells us to love one another and that love shows itself in these various ways. It was groups of committed Christians who built the first hospitals, who visited the prisons, who improved conditions in factories and mines, who abolished slavery.

And Jesus changes people too –  Drug addicts and gangsters, cannibals and head-hunters in the remotest parts of the world. Those who have been trapped in occultism and superstition.

Lives which have been ruined by drink have been redeemed by Jesus. At a time of religious revival  one woman was asked, “Do you really believe that Jesus changed water into wine?”
” Yes,”  she said, “And I can show you greater miracle. Come to my house and I will show you how he has turned beer into furniture!” He husband had been a drunkard who had spent all the money on drink and they had got into debt and had to pawn their furniture. But now he had been saved, he had given up drinking.  Now they had been able to get their furniture back. Jesus had turned beer into furniture!

6) Because he is coming back again to judge the world

The day will come  when Jesus will return. It may be next century, it may be next week, it may be tomorrow. No one knows the day or hour. He will judge the world. He will reset the scales of Justice and make all things fair. He will do away with sin and oppression and injustice.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,   he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. Psalm 96:11-13 (New International Version)

We shall all have to stand before his judgement throne and give account for our lives. How have we lived them? What use have we made of our talents, our opportunities? Have we responded to God’s Holy Spirit and opened our hearts to Jesus – or have we rejected him?

7) Because he invites us to come to him

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20 (New International Version)

Jesus is knocking at the door of your life – will  you open to him?