This is an excerpt from Kevin W. Rhodes’ latest book, Follow Me: A Call to Authentic Discipleship. For your copy from Hopkins Publishing or for more information, just follow the link to Follow Me: A Call to Authentic Discipleship or check it out on Amazon.com.
Failing to follow to the end is more than a mistake; it is a betrayal. It is the decision to choose what is easy rather than to choose what is wise. It is the decision to prefer the world below over heaven above. It is the decision to sacrifice your Savior all over again–because Satan was willing to pay your price.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Heb. 6:4–6).
Discipleship is built on learning, on commitment, on relationship, on character, on faithfulness, and on hope. Never give that up. Never! It is not only the cornerstone of Christianity but the purpose of our being. Serving God is therefore not some tired old tradition; it is the essence of life. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all” (Ecc. 12:13). Therefore, remember the words of the Master, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
The disciples who walked away from Jesus on that day, so many years ago, were not the first, and they were certainly not the last. Many more would reject Jesus during His earthly ministry–especially as the cross loomed before Him. In the early church, disciples would waver in faith and require inspired attention to draw them back to Jesus (Gal. 1:6-9).
Throughout the years they would have to face the choice between Jesus and their business, between Jesus and their family, between Jesus and their home, between Jesus…and physical life itself. Some struggled with these choices, wavered in their convictions, and betrayed a divine trust. But many disciples held firm, made whatever sacrifices were required, and remained faithful to the Lord.
On the night of His betrayal, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, where are You going?” To this question, Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward” (Jn. 13:36). Jesus, you see, did not come to earth just to attract large crowds. He did not leave heaven to call people to accept some of what He said and appreciate some of what He did. He did not die on the cross just so people would follow His lifestyle upon the earth. He left heaven and came to earth to die on the cross…so that He could be raised from the dead…and so that we could follow Him all the way to heaven.