WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “FOLLOW JESUS”?
In the beginning of the New Testament you have four books that look like chapters and they’re called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are known as the gospels and all four books document the life of Jesus from different perspectives. At the beginning of each gospel we see Jesus calling the disciples, building his crew that he was going to run with and change the world.
These disciples that follow him are almost all teenagers, working in their family business, growing in their craft to make a living and create a family.
One of the wild things we see is that when Jesus walks up to them and says “come, follow me”, they do it. They drop everything in the moment, leaving it all behind, just to follow a man that they don’t know.
Huh? Why would they do that?
You see, back in that day there was no such thing as the New Testament portion of the Bible yet. It was just the Old Testament and at that time it was actually just called the Hebrew Bible, which was 37 books about the history of Israel. The first 5 books were written by a man named Moses and that section was called the Torah. Jewish people at that time lived and breathed the torah. It was their instruction manual on everything. And by the time you were 10 years old, Jewish kids would have the entire torah memorized. Beginning to end. Genesis through Deuteronomy, memorized. Every chapter, every verse, every word, memorized.
Now that this point a lot of kids would go and work in the family business, making an okay income, getting by and supporting the family, but kids who were really bright and passionate about learning more would continue in the synagogue and they would end up memorizing the entire Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament that we know today. And they’d only be like 14 or 15 at that point.
Whoa. What were you doing at 14 or 15? Haha
So from there if they still wanted to keep going, to learn more and more and more they would find a rabbi and try to convince him to let them be his disciple. The amount of people that made it to this level were extremely slim, but to get accepted by a rabbi was even slimmer.
BUT if the rabbi did allow you to be his disciple, he would essentially say to the student, “Come, follow me”.
And if you were up for it you would literally leave everything behind to follow that rabbi. Your job, your family, everything. And during your time with the rabbi you would learn everything that he did, said, taught, and mimic it. Each disciple would be a walking, talking direct replica of their rabbi. It was the most sought after honor that any kid could ever dream of.
So when we see Jesus, a rabbi, coming up to these teenagers that are working in their family business and says “come, follow me”, of course they are going to drop everything and go. They had already missed their chance once, but even though they weren’t smart enough or talented enough or driven enough in societies eyes, Jesus looked at them and said they were.
And he looks at you and says the same thing. “Come, follow me”.
So to follow him means to study his movements. Doing what he does, saying what he says, responding how he responds, loving how he loves. It means building the kingdom of God instead of our own.
It requires obedience and surrender, but through it all he looks at me and he looks at you, and he believes that we are good enough to follow him, to be used to change the world for the better.
So go, follow him.