I remember playing follow the leader as a child. One child was the leader. The next person in line had to do what they did and then on down the line.
As adults we still play follow the leader. We have mentors, those we admire and aspire to be like. If we truly want to be like them, we follow what they do. Sometimes we follow the wrong leaders resulting in the wrong actions. So who do we follow, or do we follow at all?
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus said, “Follow Me.” Each time, He had a specific purpose in mind.
There are two Greek words used in the gospels when Jesus says, “Follow Me” (or sometimes translated “Come”). One is used in the sense of urgency, such as follow now or come now. The other is used for inviting someone to follow as a disciple, much like we think of following a leader and imitating their actions.
The first is used with a sense of urgency in three ways.
1. A new purpose
Matthew 4:19 - Then He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus set forth a new purpose for these men. They would no longer be fishermen to satisfy the physical, but they would follow Him and become fishermen to satisfy the soul.
Matthew 11:28 - Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mark 6:31 - And He said unto them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Jesus knew the need for rest, and sometimes that rest is an immediate need. It’s okay to need rest.
3 – Refresh and restore
John 21:12 - Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.”
Following this meal Jesus reaffirmed His purpose for Peter three times just as Peter had denied Him three times. He was refreshed with a meal and restored to ministry. When we stop and refresh by spending time with Jesus, we walk away reaffirmed and ready to move forward.
The second is also used in three ways.
1. Leave others
Matthew 9:9 - As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose, and followed Him.
John 1:43 - The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
In the gospels, the disciples were called to leave behind their former lives and follow Him. We may not be asked to leave our homes and family, but we are asked to leave behind what hinders us in our walk with Him.
2 – Leave self
Matthew 16:24 - Then said Jesus to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Mark 10:21 - Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Jesus loves us. Because of His love, He does ask us to leave self behind. Our desires are replaced with His desires as we follow Him.
3 – Follow His voice where He leads you
John 10:27 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
John 21:22 – Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
When we spend time with Jesus in prayer and in scripture, we come to know His voice. Where He leads us might not necessarily be where He leads someone else.
Jesus still says, “Follow Me.” He still has a specific purpose in mind for each of us. Come now to learn your purpose, find rest, and refresh.
Follow Jesus. Leave the world and selfishness behind. Follow His voice, and His specific purpose for your life.
The call is to follow Jesus and discover His purpose. Fill your spiritual jewelry box with the treasures that await as you follow Jesus.