We have been invited!
I have wondered what following Jesus is like. It seems scary. I know I haven’t done it much, even though I am a Bible studying Christian. Mostly I have been leading small groups, attending weekly church and worshiping God, praying a lot, donating money, and sponsoring children from other countries. I think there is more to it than that.
After a great weekend worship service this week, and some reading and thinking, I realized that Jesus says, “Come, follow me…” in Matthew 4:19. He doesn’t say, “Go and follow me.” That would suggest that you are to go out on your own and do what He did. No, Jesus says, “Come follow me.” Now that suggests He is going with us! That sounds a whole lot more fun and a bit less scary.
And since we would be following Him, He is doing the leading. That takes away some of the doubts and fears of where to go and what to do. He also makes that an invitation, not a command. I like having a choice.
In John 8:12, Jesus also says, “…Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” It is good to know that when we follow Him we will travel in the light, not in the dark.
In John 10:27, Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” So not only is He leading the way, but He is talking to us, encouraging us to keep following Him. He is probably also giving us some directions. I can imagine hearing Him say something like “Just over that ridge, you will find some fresh water and soft grass to rest in.”
Now, in Mark 8:34, Jesus talks to a crowd. And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Here is where I see that Jesus is inviting everyone to follow Him. He has added something though. Here He is asking them to deny their self and take up their own cross, and then follow Him. I have heard different interpretations about this instruction from Jesus. He seems to be warning us that we will need to leave behind some things that we like (deny yourself), and carry some things we probably won’t like (your cross), but He is still leading us as we follow Him. Every trip I have ever taken, I left some things behind, and had more luggage to carry than I wanted.
There are other parts of the Bible where Jesus talks about following Him. Some of them are invitations to specific people in the Bible. But looking at the Scriptures I have mentioned here, encourages me to try to do more following Jesus, and less worrying about it.
If you have read some of my recent blog posts, you will know that I am trying to live my life more intentionally. Choosing to follow Jesus, not just be a Christian, has now become one of my life intentions. This just might change the rest of my life. Yikes! Do you want to follow Jesus more too?
If you have some experience following Jesus, maybe you can comment below, or add a link to your blog post where you talk about it.