Following Jesus: Are You a Fan or a Friend?


February 12, 2021

Mark 1:43-45 (NIV)

43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.


What is in the mind of Jesus that would cause him to strongly warn the cleansed and healed leper with these words? 

“See that you don’t tell this to anyone.”

It seems like word of this spreading would help Jesus in his mission. That is how my mind thinks. Fame works. Do something great or wowing or somehow significant and you become famous and your fame can be used as a platform for just about anything you want.

It’s why people want to be famous. They want to be known for what they have and can do. Which is another way of saying they don’t really want to be known. What they want is to be admired, right? 

I’ve known a few famous persons, and truth be told, they tend to be among the most lonely and isolated people on the planet. They are profoundly admired yet hardly known. The crazy thing about fame is the way it extends to those who get close to it. Don’t you think this leper became a bit famous himself? This news was destined to spread. And look what happened to Jesus as a result. 

As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.

Once a person becomes famous the only real friends they have are the ones they made before they became famous. They can never really know if they are loved just for who they are and not for what they have done, do or can do for you. Famous people are long on fans, but they tend to be short on friends. It’s why superheroes have alter-ego hidden identities. 

Why didn’t Jesus want to be famous? I think he was looking for friends, not fans. It’s why fame is a non-value in the Kingdom of God. It’s why the whole concept of a Christian celebrity is the ultimate oxymoron. 

When we love someone for what they have done and what they can do for us, we are, by definition, a fan. It’s not wrong to be a fan. It’s just a totally different thing than a friend. When we love someone for the wonder and beauty of who they are, regardless of what they can do for us, we are, by definition, a friend. 

So where do you stand with Jesus? I think we mostly all begin as fans. The question is are we growing into friends. We start off loving him for what he has and can do for us. The question is are we growing to love him for the sheer wonder and beauty of who he is. 

In other words, if he did something spectacular for you and asked you to keep it a secret, would you do it? 


Almighty God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—my Lord Jesus Christ, I want to be your friend. What a friend I have in you. Would that you would one day say concerning me, “What a friend I have in you.” That will be the day. I pray in your name, Jesus, Amen. 


So what about you? Would you rather be known or admired? Would you rather have a million fans or a few true friends? Could you keep Jesus’ secret? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Early Joe is faring pretty well through Covid-19. He says thanks for the prayers. And a bonus—I’m working on getting the recipes for Mom’s Chicken Spaghetti and Cream Cheese Pound Cake! 

DON’T FORGET:  1. Reserve your complimentary ticket for A Night with New Room: Ash Wednesday. 2. Check out the 2021 Awakening Calendar. 3. Grab a songbook for Soundtrack

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I personally simply want to be a faithful servant of Christ In today’s developing political climate here in this country, to be too well known, might bring about the wrong kind of attention from folks determined to silence true Christian witness in the market place. I believe here in the states, we should begin to learn how to deal with political opposition against true Biblical Christianity. We have brothers and sisters in Christ which have had to deal with this situation daily but have managed to thrive in such an environment. They have much to teach us.

  2. And then you come up with the most interesting question. And it first hit me on a personal level.

    However, I also agree with Bob Kersten’s take: We need to be aware of the political climate and be prepared for a more subtle type of Christianity. I think we could easily be headed to a time where the expectation is everybody is in lockstep with each other and the government–no free thinking allowed. We are not there yet, and it will not come without resistance, but the possibility is most definitely out there.

    Currently I am learning to move from corporate Christianity to a more subtle on the ground/out there version. At this point it is not so much because of the political climate, it has more to do with where do I belong in the current corporate church landscape? Although I was raised Mainline in the Methodist/United Methodist Church I was never mainstream. When i hung in with the church, it was because I was interested in God and the bigger grander story I was sure was going on–a story I had to ultimately wander off and learn on my own. Therefore, I am not inclined to jump off into a new and improved way to “do church” which seems to be where much of the church revival attempts are focused.

  3. I am a great fan of Jesus Christ, how can I not be. How can I not praise him for all that he has done for me. Yet, I also call him friend. He sit with me in my pain and attends his ears to my words. He is there when all else scatter. A friend closer than a brother. He is all that I desire to be, and all that he is, he shares with me. He loves me, how can I want for more. No greater LOVE!

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