There is another side to this lesson on authority of Christ that we started with our last writing. The first part we discussed was that of Jesus being the Lord of our life. For some people this is a difficulty, because they still want to be in control of everything. Giving up the pleasures of sin seems too great a price to pay. The rest of the people have recognized the benefits of having Jesus in their life, and have given him their heart, soul, and life.
For those people who have come to Jesus, there is the other side of Christ’s authority that can be difficult even for them. In Mark 1:17 Jesus calls to Simon and Andrew as they were casting their nets into the sea. He says to them, “Follow thou me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The authority of Christ first says, “Come,” but the second part that too many of us have difficulty with is, “Follow.”
To follow Christ requires that we make a decision to follow Him. When Simon and Andrew were called by Christ to follow him, they spent a couple of weeks making their decision, figuring if it would cost them financially, determining if it would damage their reputations. Wrong! Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed Him. They instantly recognized Christ’s authority in their lives. They made up their minds from the beginning that they were going to follow Jesus. One thing that the last 50 years has done to erode our conscience, and correct thinking, that has been taken away from us is respect and recognition of authority. This was not the case with Simon and Andrew; they knew Jesus was the final authority of their lives. We must get back to that same concept if we are to live fruitful and rewarding lives.
One of the reasons why we don’t see more people leaving their nets and following Christ is because we in the Church have not presented the authentic, real, living Lord Jesus in all of His splendor, majesty, and glory. When we see Him for who He is, no possession, no worldly honor, or success can compare with the King of Kings.
It is at this point that we recognize that personal time, family time, vacation time, and any other time you present, is no longer the most important factor of your life. Does God not want us to have vacations, days off, and rest? Of course He wants that for us, even Jesus stole away from the crowds to recharge His batteries. Let me make this point clear with you; your time is no longer the most important factor of your life. The issue is BALANCE and RIGHT PRIORITIES.
When Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, Jesus was told that they were there to see Him. Mark 3:33-4:1 “ And he answered them, saying, ‘Who is my mother, or my brethren?’ And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, ‘Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
Not all who see Jesus continue following Him. John 6 records that after Christ made some difficult and challenging statements, “Many of his disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore.” Then Jesus says to the remaining 12, “Will you also go away?” Peter makes a profound statement, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” He had come to the conclusion that there was no one else to follow.
How about you? Are you following Christ by conviction, or as a matter of convenience? Hebrews 2:1-3 tells us, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”
When we give Christ authority over our lives we discover He has the authority to make our lives so much better. Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” KJV
When Jesus stood in the Synagogue that day and gave this reading, you would have thought that the crowd would have roared with approval. After all, wasn’t this announcement what they had been waiting for? To have someone come who could meet all their needs; good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, deliverance to the captives, blinded eyes opened, to liberate those who were bruised? What more could people want?
The sad story of it all is that not only then, but also today we would rather hang on to all of our problems. To some it is a crutch, or an excuse for the way they are. To others they have simply lost their way on their road of faith.
Are you brokenhearted over a relationship with a family member, friend, or co-worker? These heartbreaks and sorrows are a part of life, but Jesus said to give Him our hurts and sorrows. Will you take your broken heart with you to the grave and end up hopeless? Or will you take your broken heart to Christ and let the great physician heal you on His authority? After all, He can heal the brokenhearted, and He will.
When Jesus is given authority over our lives he also has authority over our sin. Nothing gives us freedom and heals our sorrows more than the forgiveness of sin. Mark 2:10-11 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” KJV
“He whom the Son has set free is free indeed,” is not just a song or cliché, it’s the truth! You can study all the religions of the world and you will find that there is only one way to receive forgiveness of sin; through Jesus Christ. He is the only one who has the authority to do so.
Jesus must be the Lord of your life, be given the ownership, authority, and responsibility of your life. If we have truly given Him authority we will have made the decision to follow Him, realized that He alone is our purpose in life, and there is nothing else that can bring us contentment. The more that I am in the Christian life, the more I see that nothing else matters other than Jesus Christ. Today, are you willing to ask Him to infuse your life with the conviction that He alone is worth following?
The authority of Christ is a beautiful thing. We must give him the authority and responsibility of our lives and follow Him. When we do this we will realize that He has the authority to make our lives better.
Today that can be the starting point for a better life for you. It’s yours for the asking. Just ask Jesus to come into your life, forgive you of your sins, and allow Him to fill you with His Spirit.
Have you given your all to Jesus today, or are you holding something back? If you’re not fully committed to Christ, what is it that you’re holding back? The bigger question though is, “Why are you holding yourself back?” What do you want to do with the rest of your life? It’s only a vapor; soon it will all be gone. Don’t let it slip away, give your life to Jesus!