Why Should I Follow Jesus?

Some of world’s greatest discoveries were initially rejected.

“This is typical Berlin hot air. The product is worthless.” Rejection letter sent to Felix Hoffmann who invented aspirin. Heinrich Dreser was standing by his ‘star’ painkiller – a drug that made factory workers feel animated and ‘heroic’. Thus his company, Bayer Pharmacological Institute, named it ‘heroin’. Later on, due to its ‘funny’ side effects, it was decided to take heroin off the market. Bayer’s chairman eventually accepted aspirin as Bayer’s main painkiller. More than 10 billion tablets of aspirin are swallowed annually. (Wulfen)

It’s true that we can reject the very thing that would be the best help for us – make the biggest difference – but we convince ourselves we do not need it. That happens in our text for today. It’s not a great invention or a scientific discovery – but the very plan of God to save the world. The question of the day is Why Should I Follow Jesus? This reality-check question is answered in a parable that is a bit shocking – and is followed up with the truth that Jesus was sent, but rejected!

Mark 12:10-11 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?”

I Should Follow Jesus Because He is Cornerstone of Life

The cornerstone is the first set in a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in relation to this stone. Jesus is the beginning of my spiritual life and hope, and everything about my life is set in place in relation to Him.

The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, most solid, and most flawlessly constructed of any of the stones of a structure. The Risen Jesus is the most influential and important part of the journey of my life. He is flawless, perfect, powerful.

The cornerstone in a structure is crucial to its stability. The grace and forgiveness of Jesus give me stability. I could never be saved on the accuracy of my religious practice or personal goodness.

The cornerstone bears the weight of the structure. I lay all of my sins / troubles on Jesus’ strength. In His perfection and strength I can rest assured.

The cornerstone is part of the foundation of a structure. The foundation of my life is the teaching of Jesus. What is right, good, moral, certain – Jesus clarifies.

The cornerstone cannot be rejected and the structure be stable, strong, foundational. What is it good for then? When rejected, Jesus becomes a stumbling stone. He is either of immense support and strength, or an object that causes me to lose balance and hope.

I Should Follow Jesus Because He Demonstrates God’s Love and Patience. (Mark 12:1-7)

He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from them. 3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent another servant to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenant farmers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’

Mark 12:1-7, CSB

This parable recalls the history of God’s dealings w/Israel. (Barclay)

His Generosity – vineyard equipped with everything it needed to make it beautiful and profitable.

His Trust – he put the vineyard into the hands of His people, to cultivate a wonderful vineyard.

His patience. Many times he gave them a chance to pay the debt they owed. They rejected the prophets who came over and over to tell of God’s love and His desire to save them.

His justice – “God may bear long with disobedience and rebellion but in the end he acts.” (Barclay)

Jesus is aware that He is the son. (Mark 12:8-9)

So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others.

Mark 12:8-9, CSB

Sent to save God’s people after generations rejection. He knew he was going to die. He knew of his ultimate triumph – that “after the rejection would come the glory.” (Barclay) The very One He sent to love and save them, became for them an opportunity to trip, to fall down, to miss the Cornerstone as foundation and to experience Him as stumbling stone.

Whenever anyone rejects Jesus in their lives, they miss the beautiful truth that Jesus is Wonderful!

I Should Follow Jesus Because He Is Wonderful (11)

He tells us God loves us and wants to save.
1 Peter 2:6 For it stands in Scripture: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and honored cornerstone, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.

He gives us a foundation for living life.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable.

He expresses to us grace and forgiveness.
Ephesians 2:19-20 So then you are … fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

He warns us about a coming day when we have no choice.
Romans 11:22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in his kindness….

Conclusion

The “I” Test – reality check question: Am I following Jesus?

Some reject Him totally as Savior, choosing to follow their own path.

Am I accepting his LEAD in my life?
-I follow His lead in faith (baptism, love for Father)
-I follow his lead in living (let God decide right/wrong)
-I follow his lead in loving (care, compassion, service)
-I follow his lead in learning (devoted to the Word)
-I follow his lead in every areas of my life.
-Am I accepting Him as LORD in my life?

Jesus can be accepted or rejected – a decision we make.
Initially – when we come to faith.

Daily – as we follow his lead and submit to his Lordship.

Acts 4:11-12 This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”


LifeGroup Questions

  1. Why do we sometimes reject something that will help us, make our lives better, change things for the better? What is it about human nature that turns away new innovations?
  2. What are the reasons the religious leaders of His day rejected Jesus? Do we see those same reasons playing out today as people reject Him?
  3. How would you say Jesus is the cornerstone of your life?
  4. Describe the patience of God. How is God patient? In what way do you appreciate the patience of God?
  5. How is God both kind and severe? Which one appeals to you more? Does the severity of God bother / worry you?
  6. Read the following verses and observe any further thoughts about Jesus as cornerstone: 1 Peter 2:6; Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:7-8
  7. What else did you see in this text that you wanted to talk about?

Resources

Hal Warren – Crushed, Not Broken

William Barclay. Daily Bible Study Series: Gospel of Mark

Gijs van Wulfen –10 Great Ideas that Were Originally Rejected