“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour” John 12:26.
Drawing closer to the climactic experiences of his mortal life, Jesus received the welcome news that some Greeks wanted to speak with him. It is conceivable that these Greeks were in Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, and may have been among the merchants whose tables had been overturned when Jesus sought to cleanse the Court of the Gentiles in the Temple. To Jesus, this was a very significant moment, as it signalled the approaching time for his glorification, that is, his arrest, trial, suffering, and death. Jesus used the opportunity to speak about the cost and blessings of following and serving him.
Against the background of the desire of the Gentiles “to see” him, and the shadow of the cross growing progressively larger and brighter, Jesus emphasized that his followers must serve him, must be prepared to go wherever he goes, and must share in his lot, whatever that may entail. Following and serving Jesus will not necessarily be a pleasant, uneventful experience, and may result in discomfort, suffering, or even death; but whoever endures to the end will receive God’s approval.
Most significantly, Jesus referred to himself five times in verse 26 by saying “me” three times, and “I” and “my” once. In this scripture passage, you and I are both being summoned to recognize that Jesus is the object of true devotion. This invitation is nothing new. The commencement of Jesus’ public ministry was accompanied by the call of Peter and Andrew to “Come, follow me” (Mk. 1:17), and throughout his three years of ministry, he called people consistently to follow him. However, he insisted that it would not be a joyride by saying: “ ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’ ” (Mark 8:34).
The Bible tells us that human beings were created in God’s imagine to serve God: to love God with our whole being, and to obey and enjoy God eternally. However, we do not exist independently of God. We continually depend on God for our existence and sustenance. Therefore, service that honours and pleases God can be rendered in God’s strength alone. Accordingly, “whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11b).
Following and serving Jesus requires a willingness to give our best to the work of God; having a readiness not only to live, but also, to die for Jesus, to follow him to the cross, if Jesus calls us to do so. This service abhors shoddy work, despises being lackadaisical and tardy; it seeks to go to those who need us most, and does not pick and choose where, who, and when we serve. No! This does not mean being reckless, irrational, and throwing caution to the wind. It means trusting God to order our steps, and to be like Mary Brown who said to God:
“ I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
O’er mountain, or plain, or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.”
Thought: Our duty is to follow Jesus, and our eminent and profound hope is to be with the Lord eternally.
Prayer Focus: Jesus, thank you for calling all of us to follow and serve you, and for assuring us that you will not abandon us neither in this life nor the next. Help us to trust you always. Amen.