Why is following Jesus so hard?

Whether we live in a region where Christians are persecuted or not, we must ask ourselves how easy – or how difficult – it is to follow Jesus.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is God’s expression for the recovery of humanity, as Jesus himself said when speaking of his ministry, which had come to “save that which was lost.”

Establishing the Kingdom of God among a humanity inclined to wickedness entails the execution of a spiritual protocol. It is not a question of observing and practicing a religious structure with ritual characteristics, particular and specific, which make it unique and give it value. It is an operation where the power of the Spirit of God himself is present.

Resistance, opposition and persecution to the Gospel of the Kingdom, and to its proclaimers, is due to the fact that the realm of darkness is threatened to be stripped of people and territories that it has claimed for years as its own, and therefore seek that those who proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom desist from their purpose and function of proclamation.

In light of this definition, how much does it cost to serve Jesus? What percentage, if any, achieves that task?

Seeking an answer to this question, the Lord led me to the following text:

“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Acts 1:21-23

And then, the Lord proceeded to explain to me.

When the reader of the Gospels reads in its pages the works of our Lord Jesus Christ, he immediately observes that countless people followed him during his period in ministry.

Let’s make a brief overview of his earthly ministry. Let’s start from this quote from Matthew’s Gospel

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

He began his ministry just as soon as he was 30 years old, just as the Mosaic Law required ministries to begin:

from thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting. Numbers 4:3

From that moment on, the people recognized him as coming from God.

Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Matthew 4:24

He settled in Capernaum and taught many people.

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. Matthew 8:1

The most striking miracles were the feeding of multitudes, the first to more than five thousand people,

Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:21

And then the second, about four thousand people,

Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 15:38

The biblical texts chosen are a sufficient measure to show the quantity of people who followed Jesus during the three and a half years that his earthly ministry lasted.

The biblical texts chosen are a sufficient measure to show the quantity of people who followed Jesus during the three and a half years that his earthly ministry lasted.

However, in reviewing the requirements that the apostles proposed to select the successor of Judas, they determined as a condition of selection that the successor should have been present with them from the moment when Jesus was baptized by John, at least, until the day that He ascended to heaven;

“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:21-22

The interesting thing about the case is that only two people fulfilled that requirement:

And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Acts 1:23

This is what led me to reflect on the matter. How is it possible that so many people followed Jesus during his earthly ministry, and only two of them remained to the end?

The people who followed him some were because they sought only personal gain, as is clear from the confrontation quoted by John:

Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. John 6:26

Others were impacted by the doctrine which he imparted, but when they saw the demands of it, like the rich young man, they decided to stay on the road.

But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. Luke 18:23

Even the apostle Peter recognized the harshness of Jesus’ doctrine.

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” John 6:60

Yes, it is hard and difficult to follow Jesus, no one can deny it, even Jesus himself said that the way of eternal life is narrow, and few walk on it.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

But why is it so hard and so difficult to follow Jesus?

It’s hard and difficult, for two reasons. The first reason is that human beings are inclined towards evil, and towards the selfish satisfaction of their own benefits.

The second reason, because the realm of darkness has arrogated right over humanity.

To follow Jesus means to die to selfish nature, and by the strength of the Holy Spirit resulting from the new birth, to fight against the darkness and subject it to the obedience of Christ.

It costs, yes, but it is not a personal or individual struggle. The redemptive work of the Cross enables us to overcome sin and authorizes us to defeat the kingdom of darkness.

It all begins with a decision, the decision to want to do it through Jesus. It is your decision.

 

 

All biblical texts are taken from the New King James Version  NKJV

Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

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