My son, like most kids, loves to play chase around the house. I usually play along pretending he is faster than me, but sometimes I catch him. When he realizes that I’m going to catch him, the game changes very quickly. He says, “Just follow my footsteps!” He then goes around the living room, hopping, sliding, drumming on the couch, and other crazy movements to which I am to follow. I have to pay attention to where he went and how he went so I can follow correctly. Otherwise, I’m not following very well.
I often think about Jesus’ call of “Follow me” that He gave to the disciples and now to us. Follow me. Follow my footsteps. Do what I do. Say what I say. The disciples were so good at this that they were named Christians by others in Acts 11:26. The name “Christian” means follower of Christ. I find it interesting that it wasn’t something they labeled themselves as, but rather, based on their actions, they were called it. Are you and I self labeled Christians or do others label us that based on how we live?
I love how the Amplified Bible expounds on the meanings of words based on their original meaning. In Mark 2:14, Jesus went up to Matthew and said, “’Follow Me [as My disciple, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk].’ And he got up and followed Him [becoming His disciple, believing and trusting in Him and following His example]” (AMP). Matthew was labeled as scum by another version, yet when He accepted the invitation of “Follow me”, he changed how he lived to follow Jesus’ example. How have our lives changed since accepting Him?
The call of “Follow me” goes out to everyone, but there’s a difference in following Jesus around and being His disciple, by accepting Him as your Master and Teacher through following His example. The Pharisees followed Jesus around, but it wasn’t enough to change how they lived. We each need to examine our life to see if we are following Jesus around or if we are following His example because there’s a big difference in labeling yourself a Christian and following His example to the point that others label you one. “Follow me” is more than a geographic change – it’s a lifestyle change.