Text – Matthew 7:21-23:
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ NLT.
Everyone wants to “side” with the winner. Stadium seat sales go up as the local team starts to amass a winning season. The person who has the most charismatic personality is the one who gets higher Nielson Ratings. You get the idea.
Same thing goes for who follows Jesus. Often it’s the person who is drawn by the spectacular miraculous deed or the thing that is most personally beneficial like an “all you can eat” buffet made by Jesus from five small loaves of bread and two fish. Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus saw what was going on when the same crowd followed him to the opposite side of the lake. “You’re just following me because you were awed by the miracle of the bread and fish,” Jesus says. John 6:26.
Attracting followers who are looking for a good magic act was what Jesus wanted to avoid. So he told people to keep their healing a secret; he knew it would attract groupies and desperate people. What he wanted was people who followed him because of what he said and the Kingdom to which he pointed them. This is why Jesus said, “Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven…” It’s too easy to wear team colors and shout when they’re winning. It’s another matter when the team is headed to the Cross.
Jesus came to find the sick – not the winning team. He came to find those who were drawn by his message. Like Zacchaeus who restored all the money he had taken fraudently by tax collection. Or the Ephesian Christians who sold their magic books, collectively worth about 50,000 silver coins or “several million dollars” as the NLT says. These are not “Lord, Lord” people. They are, rather, people who roll out of bed ready to follow Jesus no matter where he goes.
In Jesus’ words, “those who do the will of my Father.” Is that you?
Creator of the loaves and fishes. Driver-out of demons. Healer of lepers. We praise you for your awe and power. We follow you because of our holiness and grace. Please help us, Father, to not be drawn by the “bright, sparkly” things of this life. Help us to use “Lord” only to inform our submission to your will. Help us to be more mature in our decisions, made everyday, to not allow anything from detering us from taking up our Cross to follow you. No matter what. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.