There is much more to “following” the Lord than simply walking along behind Him.
John 21:19 – This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
I remember many years past that I was driving to a location to which I had never been. This was long before smart phones, but I had the directions written down. I don’t know if I had written them incorrectly, or if they were given incorrectly, but I could not find that place. I was lost. I stopped at a convenience store to ask directions, and the clerk had no idea. There was a customer checking out, and he heard my query. He said, “I know where you want to go, and I am going by there when I leave here. Just follow me and I’ll take you there.” That was simply enough. I followed him, and he took me directly to where I wanted to go. In my “following,” all I had to do was keep him in sight. That is following in its simplest form.
But in our Text for Today, we see another kind of “following.” In this case, Jesus was literally saying, “Accompany Me.” I have followed people in the simplest form, but I have also followed people through accompanying them. In the “accompanying” form, I was not only with the person in question, but I observed them; how and what he did, how and what he said, where and to whom him spoke. Jesus’ call to Peter to “follow” Him was not about merely tagging along, but about being with him. When you “accompany” someone, you are with them at the very scene of life at the moment of its happening. That is what Jesus calls us to do.
But there is more. We are also commanded in the Scriptures to “follow God as dear children.” Here is a different word from what we have seen. This word “follow” means to “imitate.” In the simplest form of “follow,” on merely comes along behind another. In the “accompany” context, one is WITH the leader in a moment-by-moment basis, observing, learning, and being privy to all the leader does. But in the “imitation” arena of following, one moves into the arena of action. One is not merely following along behind. And as grand as it may be to “accompany” a great leader, “imitation” goes far beyond that. In the “imitation” arena, one is called upon to speak, act, perform, live, and exemplify what he/she witnesses in the leader.
Herein is a divine progression. One begins by following Jesus for a simple form of direction for arrival. Then one moves into “accompanying” Jesus to observe and learn what He is doing, Who He truly is, and to learn His will. Finally, one moves to “imitating” Him in life, speech, action, work, and attitude. At this level, one is living the life of an ambassador for Christ. I urge you today, follow hard after Jesus in all things.
Manna for Today – John 21:15-19; Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17; Ephesians 5:1