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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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The Follower

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It was summer of 2016 when God put this on my heart. A man seeing Jesus and the disciples, begins to follow, wondering at all he sees and hears. Gradually he comes to believe this man is who he claims to be. The Messiah. It was about two weeks from start to finish the work. I pray God touches one heart with this and that will justify the effort.




The follower


by Frank Lee Jennings

Summer, 2016



At the beginning He was a stranger to me


The first I ever saw him

I was walking by the way

a crowd was closely pressing

while He had stopped to pray

what can this be I asked myself?


a rich man's son was dying

and he'd come here to plead

that Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth

would do a wondrous deed

can he do that? I wondered


to take dark loss far from his door

far from his precious son

he wept and prayed the Rabbi

who simply said "it's done"

is that really true? I doubted


rejoicing went the rich man

who'd trusted Jesus' word

I watched and listened to them

but doubted what I'd heard

just a man can't do this!


but then the rich man's servants

came and met him in the way

rejoicing, told their master

his son no longer lay


upon a deathbed dying

but had risen up with joy

and was now completely perfect

a healthy little boy


I was witness to this

and yet I questioned still

that a man could heal another

without potion, touch or pill

was this man a magician?


He went into the synagogue

there in Capernaum

and preached words from Isaiah

and said the time was come


for those words to be quickened

and that he was the one

long spoken of by prophets

the world to overcome

this man says he's Messiah!?


they brought a man before Him

screaming, bound and tied

Jesus cast the devil from him

the man fell as though he'd died

can this be, he casts out devils?


I was more confused than ever

as I stood there in that throng

a normal man can't do such things

could it be I was wrong?

can He possibly be the Messiah?


I went with them and Peter

we wound through streets and lanes

with Jesus sometimes speaking

of the work that yet remained

work? What work?


then coming to his in-laws home

Peter showed a few inside

his wife's mother lie sick abed

with friends close by her side


Jesus spoke and healed her

so the fever fled away

then she rose up and served them

toward the ending of the day

what man can do these things?


then others came to beg Him

to heal them of their woes

so Jesus prayed and healed them all

at Peter's in-laws door


not a one left sickly

He healed them with such ease

I stood amazed at his great power

to cure these men's disease

I must learn more about him!


never had I seen such things

in Israel's sacred land

I intend to follow after him

to try and understand

my other life must wait


I never tired of following

after Jesus and his men

as they roamed about all Israel

and preached of life and sin

I feel the burden of my deeds


he spoke of dead religion, men

whose hearts were as a sword

who taught keeping tradition

was all that pleased the Lord


I left awhile to journey home

to see my land and kin

for I'd been gone for quite awhile

and they worried where I'd been

I can't tell them what I'm doing


I soon returned to Jesus

for all the while away

I longed to be back with him

and to hear him every day

why do I feel this emptiness?


come to me the Rabbi said

then I will take your sin

and give forgiveness for it

so you may enter in


to God the Father's kingdom

where you never shall grow old

and worship Him for ever

in Christ the Shepherd's fold


where no dark thing can enter

no tears or pain to bear

forever there to praise Him

that bought us from despair

he's says plainly that He's the one!


and washed us from our sins

with his own blameless blood

and clasped us to himself

just as a father would




we came down to the sea shore

with Jesus teaching still

the crowd was pressing sorely

and couldn't get their fill


He spoke God's word with power

as a prophet of the Lord

then healed all those around Him

with no thought of reward


we'd never heard such things

in synagogues or temples

His words came in such power

that made it seem so simple

never had I heard the prophets so


now Simon's boat was near us

so we few climbed aboard

and Jesus taught the multitude

from just off Galilee's shore

Simon allowed me to come...


we pulled the boat away now

as I'd become a hand

to help with all the nets and gear

and near the Master stand


for in the past few days

I'd seen his gentle stare

though he had said nothing

I knew he was aware


of this quiet, single follower

that often came so near

whenever he was preaching

I was always standing near

I wanted to draw even closer...


He taught of many things

then fading twilight came

and as the people went away

they praised His wondrous name


for his wisdom, love and healing

that never had been seen

in all the land of Israel

since David was their king




we went to sea right after that

as the sun set on the rim

of Galilee's calm waters

and a crew of needy men

I sat in the stern watching him...


then Jesus spoke to Simon

to set their nets once more

the fishermen all doubted

but cast them as before


as soon as they had set them

the boat began to fail

from the straining of the nets

as they pulled against the rail


the nets had filled with fishes

more than they'd ever seen

right to the point of bursting

and we couldn't pull them in


Simon fell to weeping

and went down on his knees

have mercy on us Rabbi

for we're not fit to be


standing in your presence

because I know your name

you are the Lord's Messiah

and for Israel you came


Blessed are you Simon Peter

for this thing you've been shown

came to you from the Father

and was not on your own


See that you tell no one

for in good time they'll know

that I am God's Messiah

as the prophets wrote before


of all things relating to me

of my birth and death and then

of my foretold resurrection

and blood covenant for men


causing the law to be fulfilled

in God's perfect grace and time

for I am His word and power

and all authority is mine


I lay my life down willingly

then I take it up again

for love of man I do this

to redeem all from their sins




later a great storm arose

we hoped that it would cease

it looked like we were sinking

but the master slept in peace


finally we all woke him

as high black waves broke oer'

he marveled at our faithlessness

then silenced all the roar


he marvelled at our lack of faith

and never seemed to fear

no natter what was happening

his voice was firm and clear


months went by with me in tow

just watching from the side

as he touched and healed the lepers

and opened up blind eyes

how can this man be God too?


the leaders of the synagogues

all plotted day and night

and tried to catch him in his words

they sought with all their might


but he made them all look foolish

when he answered in a way

that filled the place with power

and took their breaths away

I stood amazed at his authority...




a man named Jairus came

then at Jesus' feet did plead

for him to quickly come

and meet his daughter's need


for the child was near to death

no physician had the skill

to drive away the plague

that stormed in for to kill

I'd never seen a man more broken


as Jesus walked to Jairus' house

He was pressed hard by the crowds

but suddenly he stopped

then challenged right aloud


He said "who touched my clothes"?

and a little woman cried

"if I hadn't touched you Lord

I'm sure I would have died"


for she'd been to all the doctors

who took her every cent

but still she was afflicted

no matter where she went

she was frail and slight...


he blessed her for her faith

and praised her with his words

but Jairus' daughter passed away

and her neighbors mocked the Lord


so Jesus sent the crowd away

save for the chosen part

then spoke life back into the girl

who sat up with a start

I saw this through a window


the parents were rejoicing

but Jesus merely said

see that you do not tell a soul

and see that she is fed




they had a passover supper

in an off street upper room

I came to help prepare things

then stayed to see it through

they were used to me now...


Jesus washed the disciple's feet

Simon spoke a reprimand

not so Lord, you'll not wash mine

but he did not understand


that Jesus came to serve not be served

and teach this to all men

to serve and be the last of all

then serve and serve again




they came to take him in the night

in the garden while he prayed

the disciples all were sleeping

and with them I had stayed


the soldiers took him with them

to the chiefest of the priests

so he was gone from all of us

and all our faith had ceased


I'd not been parted from him

in many days and miles

and now I heard the Romans

were sending him to trial

surely they'll release such a one


the Jewish leaders pressed in

for hate and envy's sake

to have the master put to death

then all his flock to take


back to the rule of Moses' laws

back to traditions cold

that had no life, or breath or grace

but only chain like holds

I can bear the law no more...




the next time I saw Jesus

was at the public square

soldiers stood around him

while Pilate sat his chair


I couldn't hear them speaking

I got there much too late

but by the great crowd's roaring

I feared the master's fate

where shall all of this end?


I heard them shout Barabbas!

saw Pilate wash his hands

and soldiers striking Jesus

while he was tied in bands


they forced a thing upon his head

I could see that it was thorns

how could they do this to him?

the kindest man yet born...


they forced a cross upon him too

that he could hardly bear

I stood and wept as he went on

then cried a wailing prayer

how can God abide such a thing?


the crowd was pressing on him

as he strained along the way

going up Golgotha's hill

and skies were waxing gray

the crowd followed along...


he fell and then he struggled

to lift the cross once more

so then they forced a stranger

to do that wicked chore


forcing my way forward

I watched as soldiers laid

the wounded, bleeding Jesus

upon that cross they'd made

It was if I were in a nightmare...


once the cross was upright

between the other two

they mocked and jested of him

as that roaring mob still grew

some of them he'd prayed for...


they pierced him with a spear

as he hung before us all

many wept but many jeered

and I had heard him call


"father I pray forgive them

for they don't know what they do

do not charge them with this sin

I forgive them before you"

not even anger as he was dying...


the sky was black and windy

and the earth shook with a roar

Jesus whom I followed had

passed through death's cold door

the ground shook violently!


I felt completely hollow

with my dreams all fled away

to see the master crucified

was far too much to pay

why had I been deceived?


Jesus said that he'd be crucified

then rise on the third day

but all of us who'd heard him

could never find a way


to believe that such a thing

would ever come to be

a man to raise himself from death

we'd simply have to see

what strange things I'd heard


we'd seen him raise up Lazarus

by calling to his grave

but to raise himself up from the

tomb was far beyond our faith


his disciples all were hiding

fearful of the Jews

that came and took the Rabbi

and might come for them too


but after time had passed

I soon began to hear

from friends of his disciples

a thing that shocked my ears


that Jesus rose up from the dead

and had been seen of all

who'd followed him through Israel

those ones that he had called

these things were far beyond me...


I'd sat for years in synagogues

as teachers read the scrolls

of Moses and Isaiah

of Psalms and Ruth and Job


since a child I'd heard and known

Messiah would come one day

and save us from our cruel trials

then take us all away

but it seemed like a dream...


to the heaven Jehovah made

for His people Israel

whom He'd chosen long ago

to deliver us from Sheol

Jesus is Messiah, now I know


after all these miles of travel

after all I've see Him do

I know for certain who He is

and what He came to do

It's for me He's come...


so I gladly yield unto Him

and come on bended knees

so heal my heart dear savior

do with me as you please

at last my burden is gone!


I knew I finally knew him

for He was God's own son

came to save us out of hell

for He my heart had won


He can't be taken from me

for in me now He lives

and I'm His new Creation

so every day He gives


this wondrous new life to me

and guides me in His ways

and even when He chastens me

He lightens all my days


and nightly births a song of praise

that spirals through the stars

a high clear song of deepest joy

past Jupiter and Mars

I felt new, I didn't know myself!


Jesus came to the disciples

as they hid there from the Jews

this thing was way too much

as they reeled from all the news


Jesus breathed on them and said

"receive the Holy Ghost, and then

go you into all the world

make disciples of all men"


this is your calling now

for soon I must depart

and return unto my Father

but now you have your charge


for as the Father has sent me

I now also send you

wait for the Holy Spirit

He will tell you what to do




there on the day of Pentecost

and I was with them too

not as a distant follower

but as a brother born anew

I no longer stood apart from them


there came a rushing mighty wind

that swept right through us all

baptized us in the Holy Ghost

empowered for His call

I felt a boldness rise up in me


the fire of God, the dunamis

now fills those to the brim

they speak in tongues and have

all gifts the spirit gave to them

I felt a fire growing in my middle





religion dark would cast away

the Holy Spirit's gifts

but they fight the very savior

they say their sect uplifts


receive you now the Holy Ghost

and cast all words away

that fight God's written Holy word

and drive all those away


that seek to have all things of God

He's promised in His word

in simple faith filled child like

joy, not by religion blurred


dismiss all words that dismiss His

and cast them far aside

remember that His written word

is the true and only guide


and adding to or taking from

receives the Lord's great wrath

so fear to change a single jot

lest you be turned from the path


it seems so right when they speak

God's gifts won't come today

but who will believe what's written

instead of what false prophets say?

they say God has changed!


there is a way that seems so right

even to those who believe

they cling to men instead of God

beware lest you're deceived


by saying His gifts are for yesterday

but are not so for today

how can you say that part is right

but the rest must be thrown away?


reject the words of those that preach

that God no longer gives

His spiritual gifts to those who ask

those that for and in Him live


now hearken distant followers

watching Jesus from afar

rush in close near to His side

and stay not where you are


be born anew of grace and blood

shed by the Holy King

who raised Himself up from the dead

so followers could sing


eternal songs of praise and awe

as at His throne we fall

worshipping with angels

true followers one and all


He made it all so simple

a child could understand

yet men refuse His message

and flee from God's great plan


because it's just not hard enough

and works don't enter in

and man's mind just won't let him

see His grace alone blots sin


religion's pride demands great deeds

and say that these things save

and earn his place in heaven

and save you from hell's grave


these are followers of the world

and everything therein

but true followers of Jesus

are forgiven of their sins


so now we follow Him alone

on a path that He has built

long before that we were born

and long befofe the guilt


that man accrues from day to day

while seeking fleshly goals

vainly chasing phantom dreams

that never ever hold


a lasting heart's contentment

or God's eternal peace

but only add more burdens

and guilt that will not cease


so bow down now before Him

and pour out all your woes

He knows your prayer already

but wants you to know He knows

Ps62:8, pour out your heart...


I followed Jesus till I believed

and repented of my sins

His blood has washed them all away

now He's my Lord and friend
















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