Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:26)
One command, two promises–how like Jesus! The command: “Follow me.” The promises: “Where I am, my servant also will be,” and “My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
Just as the scholar follows the teacher; just as the sheep follows the shepherd; just as the soldier follows the commanding officer, so too, the professing believer in Christ follows the Lord Jesus. There is a consistent command in Scripture–given by Jesus to His disciples–both then and now–for believers to follow Him. Matthew tells us:
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said. (Matthew 4:19)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
“Obedience to Jesus’ command, Follow Me, is the key issue in every Christian’s life. As Jesus followed the Father’s will, so His disciples should follow their Lord whether the path leads to a cross or to some other difficult experience.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary)
The word follow carries with it a rich meaning. It is from the Greek word akoloutheo meaning: “To be an attendant, accompany, go with or follow; distinguished from the occasional and temporary following of Jesus by the crowds or individuals in general; the individual calling to follow Jesus involved abiding fellowship with Him, not only for the sake of learning as a student from his teacher but also for the sake of the salvation known or looked for, which presented itself in this fellowship; the first thing involved in following Jesus is a cleaving to Him in believing trust and obedience, those cleaving to Him also following His leading and acting according to His example.”
(Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, New Testament Lexical Aids).
As we believe what Christ says and strive to do what He commands–even with the smallest amount of knowledge and perhaps great infirmity, with little grace and dim hope, weak as we may be–Jesus declares that His followers belong to Him!
However, to serve Christ in name alone is rather easy work–the world is full of those proclaiming faith while all the while living their lives for themselves. Costing little and satisfying most people, this claim to faith lacks power because it is not grounded in truth. Our world deems those who follow Jesus with whole-hearted devotion and a willing mind foolish and often rewards them with ridicule, laughter, or opposition. Yet as believers we are not to seek the praise of man, but of God. Jesus tells us earlier in John:
-2 Corinthians 1:8-10
How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)
As believers we are called to do the things that Christ has said, walk as He walked, go where He leads. God honors the servant who serves His Son. God will make amends for our worldly pain and loss.
“The reward is honour, true lasting honour, the highest honour; it is the honour that comes from God. Those who wait on Christ, God will honour. Those who serve Christ must humble themselves, and are commonly vilified by the world, in recompense of both which they shall be exalted in due time.” (Matthew Henry)
Take It to Heart
Christ and His servants shall never be parted–we shall be with Christ wherever He is–in paradise and in His glorious kingdom. Whatever the Master has, the servant shall have also. This is why the apostle Paul could so boldly state:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)