By Todd Pekel


When Jesus said "follow me" he knew something that most of us don't realize. We are all followers. In fact, it’s not a question of if we follow, but more a question of what or whom we follow that counts. The way of man is not in himself. It is simply not in man to direct his own steps.

Jeremiah 10:23:
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

The apostle Paul, while writing to the saints at Corinth, reminded them of a truth that pertained to us all before we became Christians. Namely, that we were led.

1 Corinthians 12:2:
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

Before becoming Christians, those brethren in Corinth were led (i.e. they followed) to the worshipping of idols. This truth is again spoken of in the epistle to the Church at Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 1:9:
For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

Of course, idols come in many shapes and sizes, perhaps there is none more prevalent than the idol of self. This too, is typical of our state before becoming Christians.

Ephesians 2:2-3:
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Before becoming Christians, we “walked according to the course of this world.” Before Christianity, we were “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” After believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to be followers of him. His first directive to those who would know him is the simple, yet demanding edict, “Follow me.”

Matthew 4:17-20:
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Imagine Levi sitting there thinking, “I wish I had a dime for every time I heard that excuse,” as he went about the business of collecting taxes the day Jesus walked by. Maybe it was “just another day at the office” as he did his duty that eventful day. Anyway, picture him there as the Lord says to him; “Follow me.”

Mark 2:14:
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

Look at that! These men dropped everything and followed the Lord. Whatever they had been following before; whether it was life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or some kind of esoteric, new age stream of consciousness feel good philosophy, suddenly and totally changed. Indeed, there is no greater change that takes place than when a man becomes a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. For some, however, the cost of following the Lord is simply too much.

Mark 10:17-21:
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Even though this young man’s question was answered, it appears that he didn’t follow the Lord. This, of course, shows us that it’s never a matter of convenience to follow the Lord; it’s always a matter of conviction.

v. 22:
And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Peter then reminded Jesus that they had left all to follow him (perhaps fearing he had made some kind of mistake). The Lord then tells Peter and all those who will follow him of what they gain not only in this time, but also in the world to come.

v. 28-30:
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

One of the most familiar portions of the Holy Scriptures is the beautiful and comforting twenty-third Psalm. In it we see the Lord as our Shepherd.

Psalm 23:1-3:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

As a shepherd, he leads his sheep.

John 10:2-4:
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Notice that the Shepherd goes before the sheep and the sheep follow the Shepherd. This is the true relationship of our Lord with his people.

John 10:27:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

The question is not if we are followers. That’s a given. The question is; whom do we follow? Our Lord, Jesus Christ says, “Follow me.” May God bless those who truly follow the Lord Jesus Christ.



From the June 2001 issue of The Vine & Branches