If you and I were traveling on a road, and you knew the way, I would know to follow you. Following means watching where you turn and where you go straight on. That kind of following is much easier than what our text calls for this morning.
Following Jesus is made a greater challenge simply because we cannot see Him. If we could see where He turned and where He went straight on, we could follow Him without fault. But Jesus leads into places that we don’t want to go. We can’t follow Him with our eyes, so we must follow the path He laid out for us. It’s like following the Oregon Trail. We do the research, find the landmarks, and recreate the journey for ourselves.
Research is simply reading the Scriptures, reading through the gospels, to discover the path that Jesus’s walked. If you read there, you find Jesus walked everywhere, from Galilee and Perea to Jerusalem, where He was crucified. He also went through Samaria, a place where Jews hated to walk. He also went to Syro-Pheonicia, where he intended to rest in a Gentile territory. He went to mountaintops, and through valleys. He walked broad plains and preached the coming Kingdom. That is where Jesus walked, through Jerusalem, Calvary, and out of the tomb.
So how would we recreate this journey? We could actually go to Israel and walk these places ourselves, but this would be impractical for Jesus’ followers, as many couldn’t afford to leave their hometown. To make such a demand would be cruel. Rather, the task is to recreate the journey in our own life. How can you “follow” Jesus where you live?
Thankfully, He has already told us how to do this. In the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “As you go, make disciples, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. And lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” Just as He did, we tell others about the Kingdom, making followers of Jesus, bringing them into the Kingdom through immersion, and encouraging them in their own walk.
Following Jesus is doing the things that Jesus did, going into the kinds of places that Jesus went, to bring Him the people He loves. Are you a follower?
God bless you on this blessed day of worship!