“Then children were brought to Him that he might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid his hands on them and went away. And behold, a man came up to Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’… Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’” (Matthew 19:13-16, 21)
Come. Just as you are. Young and old. Near and far. Come. God’s great love for us bids us to come to Him. We draw near to stay close. We stay close by following where He goes. Now, I get it, Jesus is not physically leading us around today like He did with the disciples, the children, and that rich young man back in the day, but His message is the same, because His character and mission have never changed.
In the New Testament, and specifically in the book of Matthew, Jesus displays His love for us by bidding us to come to Him. After the disciples rebuke the people for bringing children to Jesus, He rebukes them by reminding them the power of His great gift of love — a love that bids us to come.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 19:14, ESV).
And a few verses later in Matthew 19, Jesus reminds the rich young man, after he has gone through the laundry list of commandments he has kept, that if he would be perfect, he should sell what he possesses and give to the poor and then treasures in heaven would await him. He adds emphasis to that statement by ending His charge to the young man with these four words, “and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21).
God drew near to us to transform the way we live. That transformation is not possible apart from Him and obeying His commands. In the New Testament, we have Jesus — that gift of Perfect Love given to us by the Father. In the Old Testament, however, the law fulfilled in Jesus had not yet taken place. The promise of Jesus through the prophecies were there, but the fulfillment of those prophecies was not; therefore, coming to the Father or “following Him” looked a bit different back then.
In Exodus 13, we read that the Lord’s presence was represented by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. These manifestations of His Presence bid the Israelites to come and follow Him bringing with them the tabernacle, or the tent of meeting, and the Ark of the Covenant.
His love literally led His people, the Israelites, supernaturally by His manifest Presence all the while keeping His promises and keeping sacred His prophecies. His love led the early believers by His promises and prophecies fulfilled in the person of Jesus, who literally said, come, follow me. And His love still leads His people, His Church, the Body of Christ, today by His Word, the Truth, and His Holy Spirit, our guide.
We can come to Him and follow Him, because He came to us, and made a way for us, by following through on all He promised us. His love is a love that bids us to come.
Father, thank you for loving me with a love that bids me to come to you and follow you. Thank you for making a way for me to do that through your Son, Jesus, and thank you for giving me your Word and your Holy Spirit to consistently lead me back to you.
I want to follow you and do the daily things required to stay close to you, not out of obligation or duty, but because I love you, God. I am able to love because you first loved me and saved me, and I will ever praise your Holy Name as I daily seek your face. Thank you for bidding me to come, and please allow me to stay. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Daily Reading Plan for the Third Week of Advent
Sunday (12/11) — LOVE that Does: Matthew 15:8-9 & Isaiah 29:13-14
Monday (12/12) — LOVE that Denies: Matthew 16:24-25 & Psalm 119:36-37
Tuesday (12/13) — LOVE We Can Face and Embrace with No Fear: Matthew 17:5-8 & Exodus 33:18-23
Wednesday (12/14) — LOVE that Seeks and Saves: Matthew 18:12-13 & Isaiah 53:6
Thursday (12/15) — LOVE that Bids Us to Come: Matthew 19:14-15, 21 & Exodus 13:21-22
Friday (12/16) — LOVE that Silences the Crowd by Action that Speaks Loud: Matthew 20:29-34 & 1 Samuel 2:9
Saturday (12/17) — LOVE that Never Gives Up: Matthew 21:1-2, 6-7, 10-11 & Psalm 136:1
Tabitha is a wife, mom, author, teacher, and speaker. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, Steve. They have four sons, Joshua, Caleb, Nathan, and Isaac. She loves words — written or spoken and is passionate about God’s Word and the life changing truths found in it. From reading it to living it out in word and deed, her heart’s desire is to challenge others to do the same. She has authored and taught Bible Studies for large groups, small groups, and online groups. Encouraging ladies of all ages and life stages is Tabitha’s passion, and she does that through speaking at conferences, events, and retreats. You can find out more about Tabitha, her Bible studies and Devotional, and her speaking schedule at www.tabithadeller.com.