Bluewater Bay Campus eLetter
Thursday, March 23, 2023
From our Associate Minister,
We recently started a sermon series called "Hard to Follow." It surveys the last few chapters of Mark’s gospel and highlights the final events in Jesus’s ministry. The title of this series begs the question:
Is Jesus hard to follow?
I am chewing on this question myself. My current answer is both “no” and “yes.” Not a decisive answer, I know. My initial response was “no” because choosing to follow the ways of Jesus is life-changing. When I really started to obey the teachings of Jesus as a teenager, I personally witnessed his power, presence, and grace. The spiritual disciplines became a delight, rather than drudgery. When we truly encounter the good news of Jesus – that he died for the forgiveness of sins, was raised to life by the Spirit, and is coming again to judge and remake the world – everything changes. We start to come alive as we press into God’s story. He reorders our loves and desires. We do crazy things in response to his crazy love.
Plus, Jesus says this:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
Jesus promises true rest for our souls. He claims that working with him is easy and the burden is light. Surely this means Jesus is easy to follow… Right? If I am honest, my faith journey is not always smooth sailing. I imagine yours isn’t either. This is why my answer is also “yes.” Jesus is hard to follow. He requires us to give up everything. In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus paints a picture of what it means to follow him. He calls people to forgo family allegiances (v26), live like they’re on death row (v27), and give up all material possessions (v33).
That is hard teaching.
We must be willing to surrender our plans, relationships, ambitions, possessions and comforts. That is hard for me to do. There is a real cost that must be considered when we take up our cross and follow the humble, suffering, servant-Savior.
But it’s worth it.
Is following Jesus hard? Sure. But it is also the most fulfilling endeavor we take up. There is a price to pay but the reward is far greater.
What do you think? Is Jesus hard to follow?
I hope you join us in the coming weeks as we examine the life of Jesus and see what it truly means to follow him.
See you soon,
Taylor Nixon, Associate Minister