Friday, May 16, 2014

Following Jesus to the End

Our following Jesus is going somewhere. It has been said, “Begin with the end in mind”. So what is the end? Where is following Jesus leading us when we follow Jesus to the end?

John describes where following Jesus is leading in 1 John 3:2 when he says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Following Jesus leads us to a beginning in Jesus, being in Jesus, beholding Jesus and being like Jesus.

We begin in Jesus. When calling His disciples, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-25). We live in a broken and sinful world and we need salvation. It is in following Jesus that we find both our salvation and our very lives.

Paul addresses having our lives found and held together in Christ in Colossians 1:17 when he says, “He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. C.S. Lewis also talked about our lives being in Christ alone in The Weight of Glory when he said, “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.” When we follow Jesus to the end, we end up with everything—Jesus.

We continue our being in Jesus. Paul says in Colossians 2:6 that we should continue following Jesus as we began in Him. He says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.”

Following Jesus to the end is taking us somewhere. God’s ultimate intention for us is total redemption and restoration in Him. The disciple John captures this well in Revelation 21:5 when he records Jesus proclaiming, “Behold, I make all things new.” As mentioned, John’s words capture this idea in 1 John 3:2, “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” In the end, we will be with Jesus and everything will be as it should be—redeemed and restored.

In following Jesus to the end, it is essential for us to recognize that it is Jesus who will see us through to completion. Paul could not have stated this more clearly in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is making us new in Him. We are being conformed into the very likeness of Christ, if indeed we follow Jesus to the end.

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