“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’” (Matthew 16:16).
My husband was watching a program on television, a famous singer was belting out their latest hit song and the crowd was almost louder than the amplified music. They were applauding and shouting and whistling their adoration. I walked through the room just as the camera zoomed in on one girl with a t-shirt that had the singer’s face above the words “I’m your #1 fan.” The singer saw her too and took an elaborate bow and blew kisses aimed directly at her. She was ecstatic and the people near-by looked at her like she was royalty.
Popularity is a fickle thing. One day you’re everyone’s favorite celebrity, the next day you’re old news. Last year you were on the cover of People magazine, this year your name is buried on the back page of the local newspaper. Celebrities live and die by their fan count.
Jesus had fans. The gospels tell us of people who flocked to Him, who hung on His every word, who wanted a front-row seat to watch Him perform miracles. They lined the streets when He came through town and jostled one another to walk nearest to Him. But I am not a fan of Jesus.
I am a follower of Jesus. It’s true that I want to be near Jesus, but not for some thrill. I want to be in His presence because His presence is peace. His presence is hope. His presence is wisdom and power. Like Mary of Bethany, I want to be near Him to soak up His words and take in every inflection of His voice.
I am a servant of Jesus. Paul identifies himself and Timothy in his opening statement in Philippians: “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:1). I love how Mary responds to the angel: “Behold, [I am] the handmaiden of the Lord” (Luke 1:38). The purpose of my life is to do the will of Jesus. To serve Him by serving others.
I am a disciple of Jesus. By His example, He can teach me how to walk in righteousness. He can teach me about the Kingdom of God and how to go to heaven. And He alone can teach me who God is because He is God.
I am a friend of Jesus. Fans are not often friends. Fans are there for the show. Friends sit around after the show is over and talk about real life. I love to talk to Jesus about what’s happening in my everyday life. I love to listen to Him talk through His Word about heaven. My friendship with Jesus is as real as my friendship with my best friend.
I am a witness of Jesus. I want to tell others what He has done for me. He has saved me, redeemed my life, and given me a place with Him in heaven. He took all my sin and all my shame and the punishment that I deserved and gave me freedom and eternal life. He died so that I would live. I want to tell the world about my Jesus.
Most of all, I am a worshipper of Jesus. I’ve seen old pictures of fans of Elvis Presley and the Beatles and their “worship” of their favorite stars. Their adoration is misplaced. There is only one who is worthy of worship – He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. The Bible says that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). One day Jesus will return to earth and every person that ever was will bow before Him and declare that He is Lord. No one will be exempt because it will be an uncontrolled response to seeing Him in His splendor. Those who refused to acknowledge Him in this life will, by the sheer force of His glory, give Him the exaltation they withheld. I want to worship Him now. I want to give Him the praise and honor that He is due today so that when that glorious day comes, I am well-practiced and my response is as natural to me as breathing.
Jesus is worthy of so much more than fawning fans. He is worthy of our focus, our time, our efforts, our service, our friendship, our witness and our worship. He is worthy of our love. He is worthy of our lives. To be a fan of Jesus falls far short what He deserves. And it falls far short of what He desires for you. Don’t just be a fan. Be all-in.