“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
Jesus has never been One to mince words.
There are folks out there who want to say that God is this inclusive type Who is going to make sure that everyone gets into Heaven. Based on the statements Jesus makes in the gospels, I find that unlikely. Jesus is divisive and exclusive. To follow Him is to renounce much of what we are taught to hold dear and to hold on to things that we are often taught to ignore. The world teaches that there is only the here and now and that we should, as the old song puts it, live for today. While there is truth in what is taught — I am only guaranteed here and now; later is by no means assured — it is not the truth in its entirety. God tells me that I should lay up treasures in Heaven and that process begins by being for Jesus and gathering with Him.
This statement of Jesus is rather exclusive. It makes people uncomfortable to think that Jesus would turn anyone away. The fact of the matter is this: if I am not for Jesus, I will be for something or someone else. And, as Jesus makes clear elsewhere, I cannot serve two masters. If I am for myself, then there will be conflicts of interest between what Jesus commands and what I am willing to do — love my neighbor as myself, for example. If, on the other hand, I am for Jesus, then I will do as He commands and let the cards fall where they may with regard to myself. If, like David, I recognize that the LORD is my Shepherd and cares for me and watches over me and provides for me and so on, then I can rest easy in being for Jesus knowing that He is for me in ways I cannot understand.
The second statement is fascinating. The root word used is the same as the Greek root by which we get the word synagogue. The idea is to gather together with others or to walk beside toward a destination. My favorite meaning listed in the concordance is to lead one toward one’s home. We can walk with Jesus as He leads us to His home or we can go elsewhere. The notion is that those who walk with Jesus will be in lockstep, heading toward the same destination. We may be straggling along the road, but we will all be going to the same place. By contrast, those who do not walk with Christ wander around aimlessly, like people fleeing for their lives. And, in a very real sense, that is precisely what everyone who is not walking with Christ is doing: fleeing for their eternal life. The trouble with fleeing in any way but walking with Christ is that the destination is by no means certain to be where we want to go.
The end is this: I must walk with Christ. He is leading to His home — Heaven — and the only way I will be able to walk that path is beside Him. Either I walk beside Him or I lose my way. Either I place myself on His side or I am on the side of someone or something else that may or may not have my best interests at heart. My choice. Walk with Him and place myself on His side or not.