Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Eighteen times in the New Testament, we hear Jesus say to individuals and multitudes the words, “Follow Me”. For example, in Matthew 9:9 we read, “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” But then in Luke 9:23 we read, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” “Come to Me” is the call of Jesus for salvation. “Follow Me” is the call of Jesus to become His disciples.
To follow means to imitate. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to be, “followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) To follow therefore means to move in the same direction. A follower is an individual who takes another individual as his or her guide or example. While the personal will of God as far as gifting and calling may be as wide as the number of people who are reading this devotional this morning, the one common calling of every Christian is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Then we see in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This mention of the word image begs us to ask ourselves, “Into whose or what image is my life being conformed?” Our lives as followers of Jesus are certainly not to be conformed to the images of this fallen world system. We can also say with absolute certainty that our lives as followers of Jesus are not to be conformed to the image of a Pharisee or a Sadducee or any other religious sect for that matter.
While Jesus alone has the power to redeem sinners, we have been redeemed to follow Him and His redemptive mission here on earth. Everything that Jesus said and did was what He saw His Father say and do (John 5:19, 8:28). So Jesus Christ is The Perfect Example of the redemptive will of God on earth as it is in heaven. Every single encounter that Jesus had with an individual and with multitudes reveals to us The Father’s heart and will. The professional religious crowd of His day found fault with those to whom Jesus reached out (Matthew 9:10-13). The religious crowd was “letter of the law” conscious, but shallow or void when it came to showing mercy. We are not married to a religious system, we are married to Jesus (Romans 7:4) and are called to follow or represent (re-present!!) Him to those who are hurting and lost. Look at Jesus ministering in Matthew 9:35, 36: teaching, preaching, healing, “moved with compassion”. Then comes His exhortation: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37,38)
There you have it, beloved. Jesus is looking for people who will be about His Father’s business. He is looking for those who will follow His example of what it means to labor for souls. Jesus Christ IS The Gospel. He is our Example of what real soul-winning evangelism looks like. Beloved, beware of thinking that following Christ is a matter of being conformed to a strict adherence to a pattern or code. Jesus Himself IS The Pattern. As we partake of The Lord’s Supper today, let us remember that we have been redeemed to follow the example of The One and Only perfect Example of the will and theology of heaven on earth, The Lord Jesus Christ in both word and deed. Selah