What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? I am sure that is the question His disciples were asking themselves the day that He died. Had it all been a waste? What kind of people were they supposed to be? Now that he was dead. Had it all been a lie? Had they been taken in by the biggest trickster in the history of the world? As they huddled there afraid that any moment soldiers would break down the door with crosses prepared for each of them, how powerless they must've felt. All through Sabbath, there seemed no hope for the world. Then all of a sudden the next day, impossibly, He rose again. They couldn't believe it at first, even though the tomb was empty and Mary said she had seen Him as did two other friends that had been on their way to Emmaus. Then, as they debated there in that room behind locked doors, He stood among them, and He was real! He ate with them, they touched Him, talked with Him, and He blessed them. For 40 days it was just like old times, He filled their nets with fish, hung out with them on the beach, forgave them and filled their hearts with His words. But things were different, He came and went whenever He wanted to. Barriers were no longer an issue for Him. It wasn't always easy to recognize Him, even if He was right next to you, He could go anywhere, and do anything. This was the One they followed! Where before He might have been seen as just a human Messiah, now they worshiped Him as God! As the time drew near for Him to return to heaven, He gave important instructions for every follower of Christ that would follow Him “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:18–20 NKJV).
It is crucially important that this command was not given by Christ prior to his death, but after his resurrection. In fact, the apostle Paul went so far as to say that “if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”(1 Corinthians 15:17). Every disciple knew the difference the resurrection made. We are not followers of the dead human leader but a living Savior who has all power in heaven and on earth. It means that we are never alone. Christ resurrection paved the way for God to actually live not just with but in his people. Jesus promised “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). The coming of the Holy Spirit into the life of the believer is only possible because of the Resurrection. Finally, because of God, through the Holy Spirit living in us there is not only forgiveness but transformation into a new life, that “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). This is the foundation of everything. Jesus’ call to make disciples (more people who follow Him), is given power by the reality that He is with us always to the very end of the world. We have no other reason to be on this earth than to know Him, experience His love, forgiveness, and transformation and help others know Him too. This impacts every aspect of life, or should anyway. It alters the way I think about myself and others. It changes the things I say to myself and others. It transforms the way I act towards myself and others. Let us daily evaluate our lives in light of why we are here. Am I living a purposeless existence to please myself? Hurting myself and everyone around me. Or am I living my life for the One who gave everything for me and to be all that He wants me to be? It is never too late to ask Jesus for a life full of purpose, why not ask Him today?