His Closest Followers
We must always press on
to know the Lord
I came to the Lord early in 1983. I was out in Washington, D.C., and a dear brother there, Bill, had the burden to share the gospel with me. After that he also shepherded me in a very good way, at least for the few months I remained there before coming home to Chicago. He not only introduced me to the writings of Watchmen Nee, but also shared a number of points with me himself that have continued to help me in my Christian walk throughout the years.
One thing he stressed to me was that not all of the Lord’s believers are on the same level in terms of knowing the Lord. Yes, we are all saved by grace, by believing in the Lord, and so all become the children of God (John 1:12-13). Nonetheless, it is simply a fact that, based on how we pursue the Lord, some believers live more closely, even much more closely, to Him, than others.
We can see this, as Bill showed me, in the different kinds of people who followed the Lord when He was on the earth. First there were the crowds in general, who were following the Lord to listen to His teachings, or to be fed, or because they needed healing.
Then there were the disciples, who to some extent at least lived under the Lord’s authority. As we discussed in our most recent Note (“Believers, or Disciples?”), we certainly should aspire to be the Lord’s disciples today; this is something more than simply being a believer.
Then, from among the disciples, the Lord chose His twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-16). Of course, one of these would eventually betray Him, but apart from that one the apostles were much closer to the Lord than the other disciples. It was these with whom the Lord ate the last Passover on the night He was betrayed, and with whom He established His table. He told them at that time:
“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”…
“You are those who have remained with Me in My trials. And I appoint to you a kingdom, just as My Father appointed one for Me.”
— Luke 22:15,28-29
These twelve, with Matthias taking the place of Judas (Acts 1:26), are the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, whose names will be written on the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem for all eternity (Rev. 21:14). What a blessing is that!
And yet, even among the Twelve, there were some who were especially close to the Lord, namely, Peter, James, and John. On particular occasions it was these three, and only these three, whom the Lord brought to be with Him: the raising of the dead girl (Mark 5:37); the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-2); and His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-37). In fact, the other apostles did not even know the Transfiguration had taken place until after the Resurrection (Matt. 17:9).
From all of this we see that we should never be satisfied to follow the Lord in a general way; rather, we should always press on to know Him more deeply. That is what Bill wanted to impress me with as I began my walk with the Lord.
It seems to me that we all need this word today, when so many dear believers take their relationship with the Lord so lightly, without spending much time day by day in the word or in prayer, or allowing the Lord to deal with them, or seeking to serve Him. We must not learn of these, nor take them as our pattern! Rather, we should aspire to be among the Lord’s closest followers, and we should ask the Lord to grant us His mercy and His grace to make us such ones.
To help us in this regard, the Gospels give us a hint as to why these three disciples were so close to the Lord. We shall consider that in our next Note.
— Up Next —
“Can the Lord
Change Your Name?”
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— 19 November 2021 —