I think Jesus would definitely understand the difference between a fan and a follower. He would probably say a fan of His is always there in the good times… always ready to share in the triumphs and joys in life. Jesus had many fans to be sure. When Jesus healed or preached messages of hope to the lost, people were happy to be associated with Him. When Jesus spoke of things the people had never heard before, they were amazed at His knowledge and teaching. It’s easy to be a fan. It doesn’t require a lot of commitment or heart… just a willingness to do and like what everyone else is doing or liking.
But being a follower…now that requires heart. It means going against the grain. It means accepting the hatred the world will have for you because they do not know God. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:18-23 that, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well.”
So which is it? Fan or follower? You’ll have to decide whether you want to remain comfortable in this world or seek to serve Christ regardless of the price. The price may be high but the eternal reward is well worth the effort.