Inspiration From a Story: In Welcoming the Lord’s Return, We Cannot Blindly Follow Others
By Li Minghui
One day, I was leaning against a window and browsing the web on my cell phone without much enthusiasm when suddenly a short story caught my attention. This is how the story goes: A boss was at the meal with his employees. One of the employees, who suffers a severe myopic, mistook an orange for an apple and bit into it, which provoked a lot of laughter. However, only one employee not only didn’t laugh but passed a cup of fruit juice to the man.
The next day, the boss invited his employees to have dinner again. He picked up the same orange as that employee bit the day before and took a large mouthful of it. Seeing this, all the other employees followed him to eat oranges while only the one didn’t do so who passed the fruit juice to his colleague the day before. At this moment, the boss announced that this employee would be appointed as his assistant. The reason was that, at the last dinner party, this employee was the only one who didn’t laugh at his colleague making a mistake but instead passed him the juice, and at this party, he was also the only one who didn’t blindly follow his boss.
After finishing reading the story, I was deeply stirred: In real life, many people adore and look up to those who have position and status, to the point that they often consider those people their ideals and even take their words as maxims to accept and spread. And it is sad that, when following and imitating their ideals, few of them discern whether what those people do is right, and thus lose their own opinion, stance and correct judgment on things they should have. In comparison, the employee in this story who was highly prized by the boss could stay cool-headed, always walk by reason to be himself, and not be influenced by status and power. This kind of person has been so rare as to almost never be seen. This is why this employee could stand out from his colleagues, finally win his boss’ appreciation and be promoted. Pondering this story, I couldn’t help but wonder whether there were similar phenomena of advocating power and status among us believers in God. This reminded me of what happened two thousand years ago when the Lord Jesus was working on earth …
“Crucify Him!” “Crucify Him!”
Each shout of the Jewish believers, gloomy and ferocious, seemed to be lingering in my ears. Two thousand years ago, when the Lord Jesus carried out His redemptive work in Israel, He expressed lots of truths, performed many miraculous signs and wonders, such as making the blind see and the lame walk, raising the dead and so on, and He also brought mankind rich and bountiful grace. All this indicated the authority and power of the Lord. Nevertheless, at that time, very few people could admit that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah and accept His salvation. As for most Jewish believers, after hearing and seeing the words and work of the Lord Jesus, although they marveled, they didn’t seek or investigate but instead blindly followed the chief priests, scribes and the Pharisees to resist the Lord Jesus. In their hearts, they believed that because the chief priests, scribes and the Pharisees were the religious leaders, were familiar with the Bible and well-versed in the law, had served God in the temple for years, and expended and forsook for God, their words were definitely the most authoritative and it was certainly right to listen to them. Therefore, when the Pharisees blasphemed the Lord Jesus by saying that He depended on the prince of the devils to cast out demons, and accused Him of speaking blasphemies, they didn’t bother to discern whether their words were right, but instead blindly joined with them in resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus and did not accept His words and work. So much so that when the chief priests asked Pilate to release the murderer Barabbas and crucify the Lord Jesus, they immediately agreed strongly and even proclaimed to Pilate: “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). Ultimately, they followed the religious leaders, who colluded with the Roman government, to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, committing a most heinous sin and severely offending God’s disposition. Thus, they were destined to be punished and at the same time they brought their offspring endless disasters!
From the bitter lesson of the Jews it can be seen that, if we believers blindly worship and follow man, and listen to man in everything, we’ll be easily controlled by others, and can’t take a stand based on our own judgment. Then, even though we hear the voice of God, we won’t actively seek or investigate, but instead will do things that resist God and offend God’s disposition, thus leading us to suffer perdition and to perish!
On the contrary, as for the group of people who followed the Lord Jesus in that era, such as the disciples Peter, John, Jacob and so on, what was expressed in them was completely different. While rumors had been in the air and the entire religious world was fanatically condemning the Lord Jesus, they didn’t blindly follow the religious forces to resist Him, but still remained clear-headed and could take the initiative to seek and investigate His work. In the end, through the Lord Jesus’ word and work, they recognized that He was the promised Messiah and so followed His footsteps and received the grace of His salvation.
Now, we’re in the last days, and it is also the crucial moment of welcoming the Lord’s return. The prophecy of the return of the Lord recorded in the Bible has been fulfilled. In particular, there are people openly testifying that the Lord Jesus has returned and uttered new words. In approaching such a big event, many pastors and elders in the religious world believe that it is not possible that the Lord has returned, and that any preaching that says the Lord has returned is heresy and an evil cult. They also ask the believers never to listen, look or have any contact with anyone who preaches the gospel of the Lord’s return. Facing the words of the religious leaders, different believers each have their own manifestations. Some think that the pastors and elders have served the Lord for many years, are proficient in and understand the Bible, and are more mature than us believers in life, and so whatever they say, we should listen and it is absolutely right to do so. Therefore, with regard to welcoming the Lord’s coming, we must let the pastors and elders make the decisions. There are also some people who believe that now is the very time when the Lord will return, and that if we listen to the pastors and elders and condemn any message of the coming of the Lord, won’t we be convicted if the Lord has really come? Would we still be able to welcome the Lord? But they also feel confused: If we don’t listen to the pastors and elders, wouldn’t our faith our whole lives just be in vain if we followed the wrong people? Because of this, they often toss and turn, but still can’t make a decision …
What then should we do so that we won’t make the same mistake as the Jewish believers? In reality, the Lord Jesus long ago gave revelation to us and shared with us the way to welcoming His second coming. The Lord Jesus said: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). It is prophesied in Revelation: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). This shows that when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He will utter more words to lead us, water and nourish us, and so the key to welcoming His coming is in learning to listen closely to God’s voice. When we hear someone bearing witness that the Lord has come back, or that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the churches, we shouldn’t be restricted by others but instead should humbly seek and investigate, and only in this way can we have the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s appearance. Actually, in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus’ disciples such as Peter, John and so on, practiced this way. Their success in welcoming the Lord Jesus came primarily from the fact that, after they, through the Lord Jesus’ words, recognized that He was the Messiah, and was Christ, who had authority and the truth, they stood firm to follow Him to the end and weren’t influenced by the religious leaders at all. For this reason, they were qualified to gain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and welcomed the Messiah.
In waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, those of the Jewish faith didn’t rely on God’s words but blindly worshiped power and status, and in the end, this is what led to tragedy. They and the disciples following the Lord Jesus showed us the different endings that two very different people brought to themselves on the path of following God. So, we must have clear and sober minds to walk the path of faith, and we should not be controlled by anyone, nor should we look up to or worship any person. No matter how high someone’s status and how great someone’s power, we shouldn’t blindly emulate or follow them. Especially in the matter of investigating the true way, it’s even more important that we should take a firm stance, take the initiative to seek the truth and God’s will, and not blindly follow others. Only in this way can we at every step keep up with the footsteps of the Lamb, just as the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).