The Gospel of John was written years after the first three Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote a detailed history of the life of our Lord and Savior. These Gospel writers also recorded specific admonitions and instructions our Lord gave to his disciples and other listeners, as to what it meant to become His true followers. Among the many lessons were:
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me… and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:37-39
"…any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33
John's Gospel was written years later, after the first Christians had had the first three Gospels for a while and needed more than just the history of Jesus' life and teachings. It was especially written for those who already believed and understood that following Jesus meant they had to give up their will, leave all their earthly hopes behind, and accept God's will. Yet even John recorded many of the details of our Lord's admonitions in a way which would reinforce that understanding. John records Jesus as saying something very similar to what was recorded in the earlier Gospels: "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me…" John 12:25,26
Although no one is named in this Gospel as having "left everything to follow Jesus," both Thomas and Peter state their willingness to die with Him. (John 11:16; 13:37)
On the last evening of His life, our Lord Jesus said, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12, 13, italics added) And verse 19 says: "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." Our Savior wanted us to remember that we must be willing to follow Him wherever He leads, even if it means we have to suffer and die with and for Him.
Not all of us have to physically die in our Lord's service. However, giving up our own will to accept the will of God and His Son is as if we have given up our lives to Him, that we have left this world behind. Paul writes, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)
When we give up all things into God's hands, it doesn't mean we give the deeds to our possession up to some organization. But God expects that we will use our possessions in His service. "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." (I Peter 4:10) May we learn to follow the example of what Jesus did on his last evening on earth, when He washed his disciples feet, performing the menial task of a servant. (John 13:4-17) Striving to conquer "self," may we "humble [ourselves] under God's mighty hand." (I Peter 5:6)