Follow Me!!!


According to Matthew’s Gospel, when Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow him, they left their nets at once “and followed him”. (Matthew 4:20)  When Jesus issued that same call to James and John, “…immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”  (Matthew 4: 22)  I have found myself wondering about the  immediacy of their responses.  There is no hint of their being hesitant or of giving due consideration to the implications of their following Jesus.  Immediately, at once, they followed Him.  Few if any of us would be foolish enough to leave everything at the beckoning of some recently appearing itinerant preacher no matter what the gossip network says about who He is or who He Himself claims to be. Why do they respond immediately and at once?

I would think this is not the first encounter between Jesus and these first disciples.  There is every likelihood that their paths have crossed before:  maybe these disciples were present in one of those crowds that flocked to hear Him teach; maybe they were curious about His reported miraculous powers, curious enough to want to see that power demonstrated; or maybe by sheer accident they happened to be in that one place on that one day when Jesus came wherever they were and something He said caught their attention.  Whatever the case, it is very possible that Jesus and these potential disciples crossed each other’s path on one or more occasions such that they were able to recognize one another when Jesus ccalled them to folow Him.  The truth is most of us who have  become followers of Jesus heard of Him or about Him or even had some marginal encounter with Him before we decided to follow Him.  I believe that to be more the rule than the exception.

But the question remains why would they immediately follow him?  It has been suggest that these disciples responded immediately because He captured their hearts; He uncovered in their souls a hunger and thirst for something more than the ordinary and something greater than the regular routine; He ignited a spark in them of what I have come to know as the irresistible urge for eternal life and abundant living that at that moment they in all likelihood neither understood nor could describe.  That is why I believed they followed Him and it may be the only real reason for following Him at all; that He captures our hearts.

In his book Immortal Diamond, Richard Rohr says, “Jesus never said, ‘Worship me’, but he often said, ‘Follow me’”.  Worship is defined as reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage or any object regarded as sacred.  Following is defined as accepting someone as a guide or leader and conforming to and/or complying with that persons belief, ideals and way of life to the degree that we replicate in our lives the belief, ideals and way of life of the one we are following.  To do that involves developing a new style of life, a new way of living.  Thus following Jesus means being transformed in such a way that we begin to live as Jesus lived, to do what Jesus did, and more importantly to love as Jesus loves to the end that it becomes evident to others this Jesus in very present in our lives.

According to John, after hearing Jesus teach what some of the disciples regarded as “hard teaching  …many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”  Jesus then turns to the twelve and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Peter responds almost as quickly as he did to the call of Jesus and says, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”(John 6:60-69)  I get the distinct impression that those who left Jesus were more given to worshipping Him than they were to following Him.   Every now and then I find it sobering to ask myself am I primarily a worshipper of Jesus or am I primarily a follower of Jesus?



2 comments to Follow Me!!!

  • bjh

    I am a follower of the teachings of Jesus. I initially chose to follow those teachings based on upbringing (previously hearing and being taught about the Life). I continue to follow the teachings because of what they bring to My life. As you indicate, I cannot imagine following any person today without some knowledge of that person and that person’s life. Actually, I cannot imagine following any person. But, I am open to being taught.

    My opinion: I submit, based on what’s recorded, they followed Him because He ignited their souls.

  • let there be light’ years and years in advance of our apaparence on the planet.When we understand that it is this Father’, the one Paul later describes as the One who calls those things that be not as those they were’ i.e. he calls us blessed’ and family’ even when apaparences say otherwise, then we gain confidence not only that our prayers are answered but even more importantly, we are his beloved children.

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