Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”
“What is your request?” he asked.
They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” Mark 10:35-37 NLT
What does it mean to follow Jesus? For some it means merely to be a spectator, to be “along for the ride,” merely following him around to see what he does next. I suspect that may describe too many Sunday morning Christians. We’re there, but don’t ask us to put anything into the mix. Covid showed up a lot of those.
But many others would say, “No, I am committed to following Jesus, and I am willing to pay a price to follow him. I’ll make financial contributions and I may even give some time to his work.” But why are we doing it? Why were the disciples into “the game”? They were not merely spectators. They had left their work and their homes. They were committed. But committed for what? They were, and we, too often, are, consumer followers. They were following Christ because of what he could do for them. As the scripture printed above tells us, they were “in the game” for what they could get out of it.
Is that true for you and me? Are we following Christ for what he can do for us? Am I following Christ to get eternal salvation? Are you following him to “get blessed”? To us, as he said to the disciples, Jesus says, “Do you know what the cost may be?” Cost? Who said anything about cost? No, I am willing to make a little investment of time and money in order to get a good rate of return, but possibly to drink a cup filled with bitter wine? No, I didn’t sign on for that.
It has been suggested that this may account for Judas’ betrayal. He was the arch consumer-follower, and he realized perhaps better than the others where this crazy man was leading them. He was not going to a throne and taking them with him; he was determined to go to a cross – and maybe taking them there too. Well, let him go then. That’s the disappointing road for the consumer-follower