I am always struck by those in scripture who were careful to be in close proximity to Jesus as long as He was saying and doing the right things. Wherever He was healing, multiplying and providing for others you found no shortage of fans. But as soon as He began to speak of a cost, a crucible or a cross, the fans began to conspicuously filter away. Then all that was left were followers. It wasn’t that they were terribly excited about the message but they were compelled by a fundamental dilemma. “Where else can we go?”(read John 6:53-69) Peter’s words have real power and reveal a stark contrast between Christ Fans and Christ followers. Here are 4 observations.
1. Fans admire His life but Followers obey His word- There are many who think Jesus was a good man, a respected rabbi and even some believe and celebrate that He was the Son of God. But the true test of whether you are a fan or a follower shows up in your obedience to His word. Followers understand what fans never will, that at it’s core God’s word is not about what’s best for God, it’s truly what’s best for us. Fans obey the parts of His word that fit their current lifestyle while followers allow His word to shape theirs.
2. Fans find joy in His benefits to them but Followers find joy in their service TO Him- God did not call us as preachers to be used car salesman (no offense if you are one) but to be agents of reconciliation and proclaimers of truth. One of my friends who is a missionary in Asia once told me how hard it was to come back to the states and hear the preaching here. It was all driven through the filter of what’s in it for the believer if he would just “sign on.” While it’s true, there are great benefits, the ultimate reality is once we understand He has purchased us with His blood we are no longer our own (1 corinthians 6:19-20). Followers do not see God as a cosmic bell hop or a genie in a bottle, He is our Father and it is the followers great joy to offer his life in service to Him.
3. Fans celebrate Him privately but Followers share Him publicly- Fans view their relationship with God as a private accessory, thankful they have found Him and hopeful others might as well. Followers know that people without Christ will suffer an eternal consequence and that knowledge causes them to be broken for the lost. It overrides their fear and compels them to share Him frequently with others.
4. Fans appreciate God from a distance but Followers love and learn from Him up close- What God has always wanted is INTIMACY. The bible says in Psalms 103:7 that “He made His WAYS known to Moses but only His ACTS to the children of Israel.” The people only saw what God did because they admired Him from a distance, Moses understood His character because he spent time with Him up close. The people were fans, but Moses was a true follower. God’s will was to build and develop our lives as followers not just turn us into raving fans. This only happens when we are close enough to hear His voice. At times, I think we all struggle with being more of a fan than a follower but God knows our hearts and will help us if we ask Him to.