When most modern Christians hear the term “left behind,” they tend to think of a series of Christian novels about the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation. But that phrase also refers to following Jesus. Everyone who followed Him in the New Testament era left symbols of their former lives behind for His sake.
Fishermen, such as Simon and Andrew, as well as James and John, left their fishing nets and business. “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Matthew 4:20). James and John were the sons of Zebedee, who apparently owned a prosperous family business. Archaeologists uncovered a fish market in Jerusalem that belonged to a man named Zebedee. Perhaps it was the first franchise outside of Galilee in a chain called, “Captain Zee’s!”
Matthew left behind a lucrative tax collecting business. Perhaps literally “money was left on the table.” You never hear him mention money or power again, though the other disciples seemed to be obsessed. Also, a blind beggar was healed and left his cloak behind. The Samaritan woman left her water jar at the well in her eagerness to tell the men about living water. The hemorrhaging woman left a long line of doctors behind. The son of the widow of Nain left an empty coffin in the street. Most dramatically, Lazarus left a pile of grave clothes behind in an empty tomb.
We follow Jesus as we hear His call to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) and to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). We must leave our pride behind, particularly when we submit to immersion in water baptism. The very act indicates that you surrender control of your body for a split second as a pastor lowers you down into the water because of your “confession of faith in Jesus Christ.” You are then “baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” You leave behind your fears of displeasing family members who think that everything was settled when you were a baby or a small child. Due to Red Tide at Collier County beaches, the Beach Baptism for this Sunday has been postponed until Palm Sunday, March 25.
Who knows how much time is left to follow the Lord. He will let you know what to let go. The gain is worth the pain. Peace is better than pride. Obedience brings blessing.