Would you categorize yourself as a leader or a follower? No matter what your answer was, you’re correct, because we’re all called to be leaders and we’re all called to be followers. Jesus calls us all to follow Him [Matthew 4:19]. Yet, He also calls all of us to lead others [Matthew 28:19].
When we answer the call to follow Jesus, He never intends for us to follow from a distance like Peter did [Mark 14:54]. If we so, we may find ourselves denying Him just as Peter did [Luke 22:34]. Peter denied Christ because he was concerned for his own skin. Jesus was clear when He taught “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” [Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23]. Jesus knew Peter’s heart and when He had risen from the dead, He took Peter aside to restore Him [John 21:4-22].
Peter wasn’t the only one to deny Jesus after choosing to follow Him. In John 12:42-43 we read about several leaders of the people who chose to follow Jesus but failed to make it known to the people. The Message puts it this way: “… a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe. But because of the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.”
Ouch! Does that step on anyone’s toes? I have to admit, there are times when I struggle with the desire for human approval. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be liked by others? What are we willing to sacrifice for the approval of men? We have to be willing to be mocked or outcast from a group if necessary for Jesus. To do anything less would separate us from Jesus. Jesus promises He will never leave us nor forsake us, so if we aren’t with Him, guess who moved [Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5]? It only takes one word to get back…Jesus!
If we’re going to lead others to Jesus, we need to have a close relationship with Him and be willing to let others know it. Mark 8:38 is clear “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
You have to choose who matters most to you, man or Jesus [Joshua 24:15]. Both is not an option presented. Jesus is an all or nothing God. He chose you [Ephesians 1:4]. There is a sign in front of you waiting for you to take action: Followers and Leaders Needed. Apply within!