A lovely bronze sculpture stands in Waterfront Park, in Ludington, Michigan. Five children and a dog are depicted playing a beloved game of “following the leader”. One child is in the lead with the others close behind, watching, mimicking her movements, climbing rocks, balancing just so, following the path, the adventure chosen by the leader.

When Jesus called his disciples, his simple statement to them was, “Follow Me.” The call was no silly game, it was a Rabbi’s challenging invite—to live as he lived, the adventure of a lifetime. For Peter, Andrew, James and John, “Follow Me” demanded leaving their fishing nets, hugging family good-bye, facing an unknown future. For Tax collector Matthew, “Follow me” meant leaving behind safety and the security of a steady income to join the company of fellow Jews who saw you as a traitor.

In Matthew 10, Jesus instructs his disciples, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

In Luke 18, Jesus encounters a rich young ruler, an extremely moral man and says “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18)

Jesus tells his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) “and anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

What does Jesus mean when he says, “Follow me.”?

“Follow me” demands faith. There’s a zillion questions that “follow me” refuses to acknowledge nor answer. The details, the specifics are ignored. The disciples chose faith over fear when they obeyed the Rabbi’s call to “Follow me”.

Secondly, “Follow me” expects submissive obedience, which that rich young ruler wanted no part of. Obedience without arguments, excuses or delays.

Lastly, “Follow me” requires eyes on the teacher. If we’re going to follow Jesus, we must pay attention to the leader—like the bronzed children in the sculpture in the park. We watch the way he lived, the way he loved. We study his teachings and commands. We duplicate his actions and his attitudes.

To my knowledge, not one time in the gospels does Jesus ever ask anyone to accept him. He invited everyone to follow him. Because Christ-likeness was the goal….is the goal for the Jesus follower.

The instruction from God never changes. He calls to you today, “Follow Me.”

Donielle Winter
EFCC Member

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