Shadow Walking: Follow Me
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. ~Matthew 4:18-22
There is an ancient Jewish tradition that encourages disciples to walk so closely behind their Rabbis (or teachers) that they will be covered in their Rabbi’s dust. I first heard of this concept through a video series called “In the Dust of the Rabbi” taught by Ray Vander Laan.
I believe this is what Jesus meant when he called his disciples simply by saying, “Follow me”. Follow me to the countryside where I will perform miracles, feed the crowds with one small lunch, teach truths with wisdom and grace and heal the sick and demon possessed. Follow me out onto the lake where you will see the wind and the waves listen to my command. Follow me into the temple where I will turn over the tables in response to the mercenaries who have made a mockery of God’s holy place. Follow me down the streets strewn with palm branches with people shouting in praise and watch those same streets lead to the cross where my life will be sacrificed. Follow me when all stand in amazement and when abuses are hurled. Take up your cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).
We like the thought of following Jesus, but taking up our cross? Denying ourselves? Well, that doesn’t sound like fun! And getting dusty? That doesn’t sound so great either.
The truth about following Jesus and walking with him is that it is not always easy. In fact, it is often excruciating and heartbreakingly difficult. We will have friends turn their backs on us. We will be misunderstood, criticized and mistreated. We might be persecuted for our faith or even called to give our lives.
But the other truth about following Jesus is that it brings the deepest satisfaction. It gives a hope and a purpose in this life. It provides peace that cannot be explained.
Following Jesus is worth every step. While there might be painful parts to the journey that we are on, the prize at the end makes the difficulty pale in comparison.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
Today we are celebrating the sacrifice that Jesus became for us in giving his life to save his people from their sins. Have you accepted this gift that has been so freely offered on your behalf? Have you decided to follow Jesus?