Follow Me

By DiscipleshipJournal • Discipleship • 17 Oct 2012

me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him. (Matt 9:9)


Jesus said “Follow me”.

In Jesus culture, becoming a disciple to a rabbi was a prestigious position, available only to those of great promise.  If you wanted to become a disciple you had to wait until the rabbi you aspired to study under was willing to take on another, then you would approach that rabbi and ask him if you could be his disciple.  By doing so you were saying to that rabbi, “I want to be like you”.  The rabbi would then test you by asking you to quote chunks of Scripture from memory—the more obscure the better—and asking you to demonstrate understanding of how those Scriptures are interpreted, especially through the lens of that particular rabbi.  Based on your performance the rabbi would accept or reject you:  “yes, I think you have what it takes to be like me” or “no, you don’t have what it takes to become like me”.  Unlike university today, this was not “do you have the capacity to learn the material?”, but “do you have what it takes to become like me in what I know, what I do, and why I do it?”

The gospel writers show Jesus flipping this system on end.  Going against the social norm that “Do you have what it takes?  Only the best can do this”, Jesus approached young men with the invitation to follow Him.  With that simple request He said, “I believe you have what it takes to become just like me, so come and follow me”.

He began the relationship by inviting them to follow Him.  This invitation is not directional (I’m walking over here so you walk behind me).  It was far more than that.

The word itself (akoloutheo) has three aspects to the definition:

  1. to come/go behind someone (literally, follow)
  2. to follow or accompany someone who takes the lead in determining direction and route of movement
  3. to be a follower or a disciple of someone, in the sense of adhering to the teachings or instructions of a leader and in promoting the cause of such a leader

It is all of these things.  It was about whole-life pursuit… in all domains.  Following his direction, his theology, his actions, his attitudes, his teachings, his mission and goals, his passion…  By inviting them to be His disciples He was asking them to align their lives with His.

This is what we are calling people into when we invite them to become disciples of Jesus.

Our discipleship relationship to Jesus began with Him calling out to us.  He reached out, telling us that no matter what our life is like or how messed up we are, we can become just like Him.  Then at some point along the way we respond saying, “yes, I’m going to follow you”.

For some people that calling was a distinct moment, for others it happened over a period of time.  But every disciple has a point they can look back on where they made an active decision to stop living life their own way and to start following Him.

There are those who been believers for years, but have never become a disciple.  These people have a saving faith in the Biblical Truth, accept that Jesus is the Son of God who died for their sins, but never experience the fullness of their faith.  Being a disciple is about more than belief.  It’s about making the decision to align your life with Christ’s, no matter the cost.  It’s about saying “yes, I believe Jesus is who He says He is.  I believe what He taught is True and so I’m going to pattern my life after His”.

Jesus didn’t call us to believe and then stay where we were.  He brings us to the point of belief and then asks us to follow.

Jesus turned the system on end.  He believes you have what it takes to be like Him and to do greater works than even He did (Jn 14:12).  But it requires that we “follow Him”

So will you?

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