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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Mar. 31, 2009

  • 2009 Mar 31

Following Jesus

Two words sum up Christianity. Do you know them? They are FOLLOWING JESUS. These two words sum up the New Testament Church. These two words sum up the essence of the Overcoming, Victorious Christian Life. Do you know them?

Those two words, so full of power, are FOLLOWING JESUS. This morning I encourage you to look at Christ's call of Matthew in Mark 2:13-17, and see if you also are willing to Follow Jesus!

Working by the Port of Capernaum was a beautiful job. This picturesque fishing village was an ideal spot for the tax booth Matthew ran on behalf of Rome's puppet, Herod Antipas. From his seat he saw the world passing by. Galilee was the land bridge between Europe and Africa; all land traffic must go through her. The Land at this time was divided up. Judaea was a Roman province under a Roman procurator; Galilee was ruled by Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great; to the east the territory which included Gaulonitis, Trachonitis and Batanaea was ruled by Philip, another of Herod's sons. On the way from Philip's territory to Herod's domains, Capernaum was the first town to which the traveler came. It was by its very nature a frontier town; because of that it was a customs' center. In those days there were import and export taxes and Capernaum must have been the place where they were collected. And that is where Matthew worked. From regiments to caravans they slowly flowed up and down the Roman Road that stretched from Roman Egypt to Roman Babylon. Some traffic even slipped over from the great Roman highway to Damascus. Along these main arteries came caravans carrying the wealth of the nations. Gold, silver, precious spices, cloth, silk, ivory, and many more desirable commodities were brought in abundance, and this presented a tremendous opportunity for the tax gatherers to become wealthy. Determined to reach a financial harvest, Caesar had commissioned his tax gatherers to get as much money as possible from everybody. The officials were given a franchise; they were expected to reach a certain quota, but anything in excess of the stated figure, they kept. Many of the more unscrupulous tax gatherers had become wealthy at the expense of their victims. Everybody detested the tax collectors, for the officials were experts at swindling their own people. Yet, there was not much that ordinary folk could do about the matter, for the tramp of soldiers was a constant reminder that the power of Rome was there to suppress insurrection. One of the detested tax gatherers was named Levi. So the call Jesus gave in v. 14 to Levi (Matthew) has only two words: FOLLOW ME. Those two words encompass all there is to the Christian Life.

We have come to the record of Christ's call of Matthew. Today we look again through the eyes of Peter, and read the story written down under the Holy Spirit's guidance by the pen of Mark in the Gospel by Mark 2:13-17. 

        Serving God is FOLLOWING JESUS.

        Loving God is FOLLOWING JESUS.

        Trusting God is FOLLOWING JESUS.

        Obeying God is FOLLOWING JESUS.

        Worshiping God is FOLLOWING JESUS.


  • Following Jesus is the description Jesus gave of His call to Salvation:

Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Also cited in Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23) 

John 10:27-29 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."

  • Following Jesus is the description Jesus gave of the road to Eternal Life

Mark 10:17, 21 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

  • Following Jesus is the description Paul gave to describe his own salvation and Christian Life

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (KJV)

  • Following Jesus is the description Paul gave Timothy for how he was to be a good servant of Christ

1 Timothy 6:11-12 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (KJV)

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (KJV)

  • Following Jesus is the description Peter gave to describe our call to the Christian Life

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps

  • Following Jesus is the description Jesus gave of how we face the End of Life

Psalm 23:1-6 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…He leads me … Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me. . . And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

  • Following Jesus is the description Jesus gave of our Eternal Joy in Heaven

Revelation 14:1, 4 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on MountZion, and with Him … the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

Following Jesus is the hallmark of the life of a man we know as Matthew. To Read or Hear of one of the clearest and most dramatic conversions in the New Testament please copy and paste this URL into your browser bar:


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