“Follow me,” Jesus said.
The first words spoken to his disciples, and our first words to consider this March.
My children like to play “follow the leader.” That doesn’t mean what you think it does. There is no leader, no follower, no imitation. Their idea of “follow the leader” is to grab a jump rope and prance around singing one of their Bible songs, “Follow the leader, Jesus Christ, our King.”
Literally, to follow is to go after, to chase, to succeed. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” he meant it literally. His disciples left behind their businesses and careers, and followed after him. The externals of their life changed.
But “Follow me,” meant more than going after.
“Follow me” meant “Conform to me, imitate me, commit to me.” The disciples were called to shift their ways of thinking. Instead of calling down fire on Samaritans, as any good Jew would not hesitate to do, they were asked to pray for their enemies. Instead of seeking to be first, the disciples were asked to serve. A disciple follows with his whole self, not only with his external actions.
Jesus calls us to a lifestyle, not a system. You can’t put in your hours and then take some time off. Claiming Christ as your Savior is more than confessing your sins and receiving eternal life. It’s committing yourself to a person. It’s entering a covenant in which Christ is the leader and you the follower.
This means, when we enter into a discipleship relationship with Christ, all areas of our lives are affected: what we t and drink, how we talk, entertainment choices, the clothes we wear, our relationships, how we treat one another. Every part of life matters when you become a disciple of Christ.
Therefore, “Follow me” is not only a “yes” to Christ, but a “no” to the ways of this world. “Follow me” means in order to gain, you first lose. So if you are to go after him, you must be willing to undertake a radical life change.