If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. John 12:26-27 (NKJV)
John Piper preached a message on this passage of Scripture and said that following Jesus is gloriously hard. He said that we must understand both. If we focus only on the glory, we minimize the sacrifice. If we focus only on the hard, we miss the glory that comes from being a follower of Christ. Jesus promises that there are blessings in store for those who choose to follow Him. Of course, the Bible tells us about all sorts of blessings that come with the Christian life. However, here Jesus gives us two very specific ones.
The first promise that comes with following Jesus is the promise of fellowship. I believe that there is an immediate and a future fulfillment of this promise. The immediate fulfillment of this promise is fellowship and a genuine relationship with Jesus in this life. Jesus promised that as we went along making disciples that He would be with us (Matt 28:18-20). We are promised that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).
The promises of fellowship with Christ are so numerous that we couldn’t possibly look at them all. One of the things you find when you do look at them is that they are so often connected to our being faithful in following Jesus. If we want to have a close relationship with Jesus, we must be faithful to follow Him. When we are faithful to follow Him, He promises that He will be with us.
The future fulfillment of this promise refers to heaven. Jesus says here that those who follow Him will be where He is. If we follow Him now we will be where He is then. This is very familiar to what Jesus would tell His disciples a little while later.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:1-4 (NKJV)
The disciples were noticeably worried about what was about to happen in their lives. Jesus had told them that one of His disciples would betray Him and the rest would flee from Him during His time of need. Then there was all that talk of the cross and death. They probably didn’t really have a complete understanding of what was about to happen. They just knew it was going to be bad.
During this time of turmoil, Jesus tells them that rather than be troubled they should just trust in Him. He goes on to tell them that He is going to prepare a place for them and when everything was all ready, He would come and get them so that they could be where He was. Notice that the wording is similar to what Jesus said in John 12. Even later in the Gospel of John just before His crucifixion, Jesus goes off and prays.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24 (NKJV) Jesus’ desire is that we would be with Him where He is so they can behold His glory. This is speaking of a future time in heaven.
The second blessing that Jesus promises us is that His Father will honor those who follow Him. This must refer to the end of all things when God calls us to give an account on what we’ve done with what He has given us. Jesus tells us that if we are faithful with what He gives us our Heavenly Father will say to us,
“…Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)