Some of the very first words recorded in the Bible that Jesus said are Follow Me. Can you imagine hearing those words? Here he is, the man the world has been waiting for is standing right in front of you and he’s calling you to come and follow where he’s going. The excitement must have been riveting! People ended up coming from miles and miles away just to get a glimpse of this man that we’ve come to know as Jesus. And it happened simply because of a pointed phrase – Follow Me.
These men and women would travel miles, some of them hundreds of miles just to be near where Jesus was. They listened to his every word. They fell at his feet. They sought to do everything he was doing. There’s even a story when one of Jesus’ followers saw Jesus walking on water and took a shot at it himself! There was power in that simple invitation to come and follow!
Anyone who ended up following Jesus would see some pretty spectacular sights! Lame people would be able to walk. Blind men would see. Lost people would be found. Even dead people would be raised to life! This was a pretty fantastic thing to be a part of! But somewhere along the way the novelty wore off.
It didn’t take long for the following to become more of a chore than a privilege. It didn’t take long for Peter’s trip on the water to become a terrifying near-death experience. It didn’t take long before those followers to grow weary of following and become simple by-standers or worse yet start blazing their own trail. And unfortunately this way of living has continued to this day.
It seems the farther we get from Jesus’ first call to Come and Follow Me the less interested in following we truly become. Dont’ get me wrong, we follow but only when it’s convenient. We follow when we’re in worship. We follow when we’re around other people who believe the same way we believe. But get us in the real world and things look drastically different. This is the message of David Platt’s book titled Follow Me.
The book starts with the gut punching reality that we’re looking for a Christ without a cross, a savior without suffering. It’s so unfortunately true! We are ok with following Jesus as long as it doesn’t cost us anything. As you make your way through the pages of Platt’s book, you’ll see over and over the call that Jesus makes on our lives. We’re called to leave stuff behind. We’re called to sacrifice for him, not because he needs our stuff but because we need less of our stuff so we can see him more clearly. We’re even called to take up our cross and die to our own passions in an effort to follow Jesus more intimately.
This means we can’t look like the world looks. Sadly, we’re more consumed with the new house we want to buy than the new person he’s creating in us. We’re more concerned about fitting in with our friends than living a life of significance that gives God glory. We’re more interested in what we can get out of life than what honor we can give back to God through our lives.
The call hasn’t changed. Before we can go and tell the world what Jesus has done, we must come and follow to be where he is. Jesus came to be where we are demonstrating his endless love for us. Now he calls us to follow where he leads as we love the world around us.
I highly recommend reading this book, Follow Me. It’s an easy read, or in my case listen through an audio app. Take some time this wintry season to curl up with a good book and grow as a follower of Christ.