As John 21 opens, it’s clear the disciples have followed the instructions of Jesus. They are at the Sea of Galilee – about 75 miles from Jerusalem. They have followed in obedience and gone where Jesus told them to go.
Loving Jesus by following where He sends is not an easy assignment. In fact, sometimes it requires a great deal of inconvenience, a great deal of physical hardship, and even some emotional hurt and pain. It’s all well and good to sit in a circle with our Bibles open, sipping coffee, and talking about loving Jesus. But what does it look like to really follow Jesus?
Sometimes following is a physical moving — a putting of ourselves in a place where He has told us to go. It happened here at the Sea of Galilee. This trip is also recorded here in Matthew 28: 16
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.”
And, of course, what comes next is the blessing of worshipping Jesus and receiving the Great Commission and the assurance from Him, “I am with you always.”
When we obey Jesus, He blesses us!
Are we following where He sends?
Are we obeying Him by going where He tells us to go?
Even if it’s awkward?
Even it’s hard?
Even if it takes time…or money….or effort?
If a woman goes to the altar to pray at your church on Sunday, and Jesus whispers in your heart, “Let’s go pray with her!” will you follow Him there? Get up from your seat and go forward, put your arm around a woman you might not even know well, and pray for her?
If God says, “Let’s use some of your tax refund money to support Kingdom work,” will you follow by writing that check – postponing your plans for new carpet?
If God says, “Let’s teach 3rd– Grade Sunday School, let’s serve in AWANA, let’s stay in a hard marriage, let’s go out at 10: 30 PM and give a friend a ride home from work, let’s pray for someone you don’t even like”…will you follow? Loving Jesus sometimes is hard. But the amazing thing is that He doesn’t just send us–He beckons is to follow. He is with us with everything He asks of us.
And sometimes He doesn’t even tell us where we are going. That’s what happened to Abram (who would later have his name stretched – maybe to match his stretched faith). Genesis 12: 1 says:
“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’”
God didn’t give Abram a lot of details. Essentially, just told him to LEAVE and GO.
Leave. Leave country, leave people, leave home. Leave everything known and familiar and go to an as yet unnamed and unknown place described simply as “the land I will show you.” Leaving the known for the unknown could not be easy. But isn’t that the essence of following by faith? Not totally blind faith because He’s following God. But it took FAITH to FOLLOW.
We read this about Abraham in Hebrews 11: 8
“By faith Abraham, when called to go …obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
May that be said of us! I want to look back and say, “I obeyed and went when Jesus called! I had no idea where we were going, but I knew we were going together.” I don’t want to miss one thing that he has for me!
We are doing a ride along — we get to go along for the journey. We get to be blown away by how He takes our pitiful little loaves and fishes and makes a feast! We get to see how He uses our small contribution of time, talent, and treasure…and does something incredible. Something surprising. Something more than we thought. Something unexpected. Something that has us praying like Paul:
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory …”
Ephesians 3: 20
Are you ready to love Jesus by FOLLOWING where He leads?
Are you ready to see Him do exceedingly abundantly great things in your life?
To do more that you could ever ask or imagine?
Are you ready to ask Him for an Ephesians 3: 20 – exceedingly abundantly testimony?
What are you wiling to step up and do? Where are you willing to step out and follow – -knowing that you and Jesus are doing it together?
The woman of God follows where Jesus leads.
She may not know all the details, but she knows Him. And He is enough.
Let’s ask God to give us courage to step out and follow where He leads…so that we can someday look back in peace and confidence knowing that, like Abraham, we obeyed and went.
Let’s live today knowing that like Paul, we can declare praise and glory to Him who has done exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.
Let’s live today knowing that like the disciples we went to the mountain where Jesus told us to go.
Where is He leading? And are you, woman of God, ready to follow?
The complete teaching lecture for John 21 can be found here: John 21 Audio Teaching ~ Laura Macfarlan