It is indeed good to know how the Lord ascertains to His disciples to follow Him. He gives them indications by which they gain assurance to follow Him. It is known that the Lord calls people to Him to become His disciples. Everyone that believes in Him and is His disciple becomes His follower. He is a disciple, since he learns from Him; he desired to become His disciple, since he believed in Him. No one can follow the Lord unless he or she first becomes His disciple. If not, all who followed Christ during His ministry on earth would have been His disciples. And, many were there that turned away from Him. One ought to become a disciple of Christ to follow Him. He is then taught by Him the mysteries belonging to the kingdom of God. He comes to the point of possessing His attitude. To him He gives indications that enable him to follow Him. His indications give him the strength to work for His will. It is because Jesus learned from the Father that He received indications from Him to fulfill His will. Similarly, all who become like Jesus and learn from Him will receive indications that strengthen them to work for His will. For even before the foundation of the world there was present this perfect plan with God to enable men to enter His kingdom.
There is always a certain level that one must reach to receive indications from the Lord. And, becoming His disciple is the certain level. “Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’” (John 21:19). A disciple is one that is willing to accept everything that comes from the mouth of Christ. What essentially results from this is magnificent faith, a faith that gives immense strength. Seeing that Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith, he who accepts His words possesses this faith. The idea behind calling Jesus the teacher or Rabboni by those who believed in Him is that He can speak no wrong. They were aware of His whereabouts. So, when Jesus saw the readiness of Peter to work for His will, He asked him to follow Him indicating to him by what kind of death he would glorify God. In other words, He waited till that time when Peter was completely ready to work for His will and gave indication to his glorifying God. How absolute is the method of Christ! This signifies to us how powerfully He holds the knowledge belonging to yesterday, today and even to the end.
It was not as if Peter did not follow Jesus from the time of his calling. He followed him by becoming His disciple. And, receiving many other indications like the remaining eleven, he followed Him. But, it was when the Lord fully ascertained him, He said, “follow Me!” for the work that he ought to perform in His place. By indicating to him by what kind of death he would glorify God, He strengthened him for His work. The testament to the strength he received is the work he displayed, of which we read in the word. He understood the days under the Law from the days under Christ. As a Jew he proclaimed Christ, the will of God. He who receives strength from Christ knows the things his former days gave him. The hope that was not is now present. He possesses magnificent faith; lives far away from sin. For this reason, Paul exhorting the gentile Christians said, “you know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led” (1 Cor. 12:2).
It has almost become a rarity to find the magnificent faith in the present days, a faith that alone comes by becoming a disciple of Christ. He who receives indications from Christ is always in a position to repel sin. He himself recognizes this work, because of the strength he receives from Christ. For this is exactly what the Corinthian Christians were taught to understand. If you were a pagan and have become a follower of Christ, you have certainly known the difference between the mute and the Speaking. A pagan is led astray, since he is led to that which cannot speak. If it cannot speak, how is he led astray? But that he is led astray in whatever way signifies that he who led him astray indeed spoke for the mute idol. And in fact, one does not have to be a pagan to be led astray. He who walks after the one speaking according to his ways goes astray. On the contrary, if you have become a follower of Christ, you are not led by the mute. The reason being, you are led by Christ in the Spirit. Therefore, he who receives indications from Christ receives from the Spirit that he or she may follow Him.
This is the greatness of the God of heaven and earth that He Who spoke, as is elsewhere written, in many ways in the former times now speaks to us through His Son. His Son, who spoke while in the flesh, continues to speak to His disciples in the Spirit. If this is not so, the Corinthian church would not have known the difference between Christ and the mute idols; and, we too who claim to be of Christ have not known Him; much worse, we have equaled Him to an idol. How significant must the words of Paul be to Christians! They signify the days without Christ that speaks or gives indications.
The word of God clearly indicates how one becomes a follower of Christ. It is “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Pet. 1:2). Everything from believing in Jesus to receiving indications from Him to obtain the privilege of following Him is made known. These ascertain a Christian. The word of Christ which you hear and believe will allow the Spirit to sanctify you to obey Christ in all matters. It produces in you the zeal to learn from Him. If the Spirit has sanctified you, it is like Christ saying to the disciples “you are clean.” The Lord has made you His disciple. Therefore, there is nothing that will hinder you from receiving His indications. His grace and peace will be upon you in the fullest measure. None can measure them. Neither you nor I, and Peter too did not indicate their measure. But when he said “in the fullest measure,” he had the mind of Christ.
When you realize Christ like Peter, you too will have His mind. “And swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer” (Rev. 10:6). This is the knowledge of His whereabouts. It is the word amongst us that gives indications to gain assurance to follow Him. The word is the Christ. Through Him there came a beginning and will come an end. He is anointed by God. He who has Him has the anointing. He leads him to glorify God. See, how this man, a prominent member of the council, was led by Him to glorify God. “Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43). What did he receive from Christ that he took courage to go and ask Pilate for His body? He received from Him the indications about the kingdom of God into which he was eager to enter. What magnificent faith did Christ instill in him that gave him the strength to perform a work for God! For this reason, it must be believed that no matter who you are and to what race you belong or to what tradition you belong Christ Jesus has the power to ascertain to you to follow Him. The reason that Christ gives indications to His disciples is that they may be kept safe from the judgment that will not be delayed.
By what Christ gave to him he performed works waiting for the kingdom of God. On the other hand, you who have believed to be in the Kingdom perform works for His glory, if you have received indications from Him. This will yield in bringing many souls into the body of Christ. Furthermore, you will become the cause for God’s glory on the last day. Do not be afraid. Some of us, who are prominent members of the church, must take a leaf out of the faith of Joseph of Arimathea. When it gave him courage to overcome his fear, he performed the works of God. Yet, in order to be like him, we must first become disciples of Christ. We must learn from Him the mysteries belonging to the kingdom of God. Then, we will follow Him having received indications and perform whatever He desires from us. Realize this fact that Joseph of Arimathea became a follower of Jesus only because he learned the mystery of the kingdom of God. Therefore, while the Kingdom was still to appear, he believed in His words and performed works for it. It is reliable to say that no one who understands the mystery of the kingdom of God refrains from performing works for it. Listen to this: “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will’” (Acts 13:22).
To this David God granted many indications, because He found him as a man after His heart. Has God found you like David? Has He found you as one who will do all His will? Or, are you one of those that speak according to his ways? Understand what is important – you performing works for God by what you determine as works or you performing works for God exactly according to His will? If the latter, the indications from Christ are needed for you. For you to become a man after God’s heart you have to eventually become His follower. Then, you will certainly understand the difference between the mute and the Speaking. There is nothing plain than this that “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16).