And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases… Luke 6:17-18a
The verses above signify three levels of followers of Jesus.
The first level of following Him may be illustrated by the members of the large number of people. Maybe these are the people who want something from Him yet do not want what He wants for them. People who come to Him during time of their needs. They come when they are sick. They come to Him when they are hungry. They follow Him for their benefits. They look for Him when they needed someone to look after them. And when they are satisfied, they stop following.
The next level, unnamed disciples who may have followed Jesus closely but not close enough to be named. They were described as part of a great crowd of disciples. Luke has not identified them maybe for lack of space in the manuscript or maybe you may not remember their names since they are part of a great crowd. A person who works with you but you don’t know he is a Christian- he considers himself as a silent operator. A friend who says as long she is fulfilling all church obligations and is not doing any harm to anybody then she is OK. They take the safe route when opposition to the faith sets in the discussion.
Third, the twelve disciples, these men followed Him closely and were named in the preceding verses. So, what is the big fuss about Luke’s enumeration of their name? They were exposed as Disciples of Christ. Men who stood where Jesus stood (v. 17). These followers spent their day and nights with Him. They ate with Him. They walk with Him. They rested with Him or on Him. They were witnesses in everything He did. As Jesus exposed Himself to be the Savior, they exposed themselves as His followers.
Our direction is to ascend to the levels. May we not remain being part of the people for the rest of our lives. May we desire to be named and be exposed in following Him. May we follow Him close enough, enough to be like Him. May we step from one level to another.