As we consider Acts 1:8, we have asked six questions of the text: who, what, when, where, how, and why. We want to dig deeper into each one of these questions as we work our way through this study. We need to know who Jesus is issuing His commission to in Acts 1:8. He is directly issuing His Great Commission to His disciples and followers who followed Him up on the mount where He ascended. He is issuing this command indirectly to all of his followers from that day on to today.
The obvious questions follow. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? How do I know that I am one? And how do I become a follower of Jesus if I am not already one? It doesn’t matter what I think, or what you think about these questions. What matters, is what Jesus says in response to these questions. We need to know what Jesus says. We find a concise and clear call by Christ in Luke 9:23-26.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
From a solely biblical perspective, what does it look like to follow Jesus…to be a follower of Christ? What response is necessary to follow Him?
I. We must Desire Him v23a
The first way that we must respond to Christ is by desiring Him. Notice the text, “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me…” He issues this message to “them all.” He leaves no one out. This call that Jesus is about to issue is for them all. If there is any doubt that this was an all inclusive call and command, He adds, “If anyone.” If anyone wishes to come after me…anyone who would wish to come after me needs to hear what I am about to say. This call and command is for everyone. There is no other option and no other way.
Notice that the very first necessary response is that we would wish to come after Him. He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me.” We must desire Him. We must wish to follow Him. He must be the object of our desire and affections. This leads to the obvious question: Do we desire the things of the World? Are we chasing prosperity, possessions, power, popularity, and pleasure? Are we passionate about sports, politics, our family, or our hobbies? What is it that excites us? What makes our heart beat faster? Is our desire for the things of the world, and in this world, strong? We must not only ask ourselves if we desire the things of the world. We must also ask ourselves, Do we desire the things of God? Maybe we love the Bible, prayer, the songs, Sunday school, sermons, and church. We love the things of God and that is good, but we have to remember that all of these “things” are a means to an end and not the end themselves. The question we really need to ask is, do we desire God? Do we desire Christ Himself? Do we get past the Bible, our prayer list, our favorite hymn, our Sunday school class, and our church and get to God Himself? Do we get past the things of God and get to God Himself? Does Jesus excite us? Does Jesus make our heart beat faster?
Jesus says, that we should come after Him! He should be the object of our desire if we are to be His followers. We read in Mark 12:30, “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” He desires all of our love, all of our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds, and all of our strength. He demands singular devotion! He desires that we should desire Him. Follow “Me” was Jesus’ simple command. We must desire Him