They were drawn to Him.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)
I know there are those who followed the bread and the fish. Free food and miracles will always draw a crowd. But His words were, “Come unto Me.” (Matthew 11:28) The ones who did obeyed Him.
It is the same today. Free stuff and entertainment still draws a crowd, but following Jesus requires sacrifice. The rich young ruler was given an opportunity to follow Jesus, but he walked away when asked to sacrifice.
There is a cross for us to carry, if we are to follow Jesus. This cross is not the bad things that happen to us, things we are supposed to endure. This cross is much more personal. It has a name. I call mine “Obedience.” Nothing costs more than obedience. Can’t follow Him without it. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)
It takes obedience to follow Christ as His disciple. (Luke 14:27) These are words received by faith that say, “Come unto Me.” He gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe in His Son and “obey Him.” (Acts 5:32) It is the “….sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled in His Blood.” (1 Peter 1:2) This is the faith of Abraham: When God called him, “he obeyed.”(Hebrews 11:8)
Christ carried His cross. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) Remember His words in the garden? “Not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus was obedient to His Father whom He trusted. Yes, it is our faith in Jesus, and His obedience that saves us, but does anyone think they can follow Him while living in disobedience?
We all have those times and places we come to a stop. Wrestling with those issues God has brought to light, like the wealth of the Rich Young Ruler. We often find it hard to surrender. Thank God for “His kindness and tolerance and patience” that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
“Come unto Me” by A. Dietrich, Nineteenth Century.
“Rich Young Ruler” by H.J.F.M. Hoffman, 1824-1911