Someone says to you, “follow me.” Do you know what that entails? Where are they going? What is it that they want from you? What will be the cost of following them? After all these years of doing things a certain way, do I just make a drastic change in my life, and forsaking all, just follow that person?
In the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus posed this question to His disciples. In most cases the word for “follow” was the Greek word “Akoloutheo.” It basically is an invitation, but also an exhortation to follow Him. This man, Jesus, who tells them that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, is showing them a new path. It leads to all they’ve heard or read about, but it’s a scary path into the unknown. Following this Christ is going to upset a lot of people. Especially religious people. But these new followers have been doing things a certain way for a long time. But in the words of Bono, they “still haven’t found what they’re looking for.” But now, here it is – and not how they’d ever imagined. This Jesus seems to not only know the Word, but is the living Word. And He seems to be able to use it at times that really upset the religious hierarchy. He’s doing things that were previously contrary to the Law. Healing on the Sabbath. Touching lepers and healing them. Talking with a Samaritan woman and even having women follow Him. But He could also be tough and to the point, as seen in His biting rebuke of Peter in Matthew 16 and in John 21. These rebukes are lessons to Peter, the disciples, and to us. Lessons that we are to be mindful of the things of God and not the world, and that even if someone else seems to be in a position where they may forgo death, we are to just pay attention to His command. “Follow Me.”
They did follow Him. Right to the cross. Then, everything seemed to be out of order. They no longer made sense. How could this be? But He had told them this would happen and that He’d return and would not leave them orphans, but give them the Holy Spirit as guide and Helper. All but one followed. Most to their deaths as martyrs. They followed when words He spoke in John 6 caused many to fall away. And that same command of “Follow Me” echoes resoundingly now. His word is still a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. But are we following this path? For some reason, too many seem to follow after darkness and shun the light.
We have the words that give truth and life before us, but we follow the dictates of an unsettled life. Anger, wrath, malice, filthy expressions of what we feel, and basic disregard for His command to love one another, while completely disregarding His words in Matthew 28 to “observe all that I’ve commanded you.” Jesus said in John 15 that we’re His friends if we do what He has commanded us to do. For some reason, people seem to believe that they can follow others who act in ways contrary to the teachings of Christ, yet still abide in the vine. That cannot happen. Rather than asking God to search our hearts and see if there is any wicked way in us, we go about carrying a banner with His name on it, while at the same time doing great harm to His Kingdom. That’s a double minded person.
Every day in the news, and constantly for the past 1 and 1/2 years, we have seen things masquerading as being in step with Jesus. They are not. Men clothe themselves in holy robes and presume to tell us that this is God’s will. Those same men, clothed in holy robes 2000 years ago, said Jesus was not to be followed and was false. What we are seeing today in politics, government and too many church circles, is to be prayed for but not followed. Judge it by the fruit you see. These trees are twice dead. Plucked up by the roots. We are either children of light or darkness. You can’t have it both ways. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6 that we are to avoid disputes, arguments and strife, and instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness. I see so little of this being done. In the book of Hebrews, we are told to pursue peace with all people. If you listen to many of our government and spiritual leaders today, you seldom hear that. A most terrible root of bitterness has grown in our midst, and no matter the command to “Follow Me” by our Lord, we are out of step. That command has no expiration date. And if you have fallen short, then repent and get right back into line. As John tells us in 3 John: 11, “Do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.” Ask God to cleanse you from even your secret faults. Jesus told us that His sheep know His voice. Do not follow the voice of another. You can truly find what you’re looking for. His way is the only way. Follow Him. Blessings.