In Matthew 4:18-20 we read, “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
In Matthew 9:9 we read, “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him.”
In both such instances following Jesus was not presented as an option, but an expectation of obedience to the divine imperative.
Do you remember when Jesus called to you and said, “Follow Me!”?
Where were you? What were you doing? How did you respond?
Those of us in the church were all called to follow Christ. Individually we are called to be His disciples–followers of Christ. When we walk that road of obedience together, we are called “the Church.” As we progress, we are all moving in the same direction, and to continue to follow Christ home, all the way home.
In John 10:27, Jesus states, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Seems pretty clear; if we don’t hear His voice, if we don’t follow Him–then we are not His sheep.
In Matthew 16:24, He raises the bar of obedience, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” The person who follows Christ, who walks in His footsteps is in a journey of surrender, yielding his will to the will of Christ. This person is in the process of restoration: dying to self and being conformed into the image of Christ–certainly not a popular message to convey in this “Me-First” world, but the privilege of every true believer.
The rewards are spectacular. In John 12:26, Jesus says, “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” Along the course of our pilgrimage, we serve Christ, and He leads us all the way home to be with Him–forever. The crescendo of obedience, of that relationship is one of divine commendation–the Father of all Creation honors us with divine presence.
On this earthen ball, the call, in following Christ is a severe one, even a costly one–one in which we are commanded to subvert our wills to the will of Christ. One in which we willingly follow the Divine Shepherd wherever His good pleasure wills. Yet, the glory which awaits such submission is a blessing of Divine honor, may we say commendation: “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put youin charge of many things; enterinto the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21). What a future awaits those who follow the Messiah!
I have decided to follow Jesus.
By the way, you never answered… Do you remember when Jesus called to you and said, “Follow Me!”?
“How did you respond?”
Did you follow right away? Did you count the costs? How are you following now?
Our God is good. If He has called you, He desires you to follow Christ now… completely.