When Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, began to call his disciples together, He used the iconic words, “Follow Me”. He spoke these words to several of his disciples who heard His call, dropped what they were doing, and responded positively. He used those words in his call of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew in Matt. 4:19.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Jesus used those same words when he called Matthew the tax collector in Matt. 9:9
9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
He also used those words as he called Phillip in John 1:43.
The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
Other disciples were called by Jesus, in the same way, using the same words. However, in the following instances, they either had excuses, or they rejected Jesus’s call. In Luke 9: 59-62 are two examples of men who rejected Jesus’ offer to follow him because of family concerns.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
The Lord let the first young man of these Scriptures know that the unsaved or spiritually dead could take care of natural matters such as burying the dead, but he was offering this young man an opportunity to preach the Kingdom of God.
The second young man said, “I would follow you, BUT…” The word “But” found here negated the “I would follow” that preceded. His excuse about wanting to go back and tell his family goodbye was just that, an excuse.
A classic example of a man who Jesus gave a great offer to follow Him, but who rejected Jesus’ offer, is one that we call the Rich Young Ruler, found in Matt. 19:16-26. Jesus indicated what this young man should do. He even told him of the rewards he would receive if he responded as Jesus requested. Unfortunately, the Rich Young Ruler rejected the offer of Jesus due to his immense wealth. This young man missed out on the treasures of Heaven because he did not have the faith to give up what he had to follow Christ.
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
A personal prophetic experience
Early in my saved life, I had a personal, authentic and meaningful experience with the Lord in the form of a dream. I was in a poorly-lit cave, walking up steps towards daylight. The stairs were slippery due to a little river of water that poured from an unknown source. There was no safety railing on the right and the stairs were open to a drop-off as high as a mountain. Falling off the steps would mean an inevitable disaster.
The steps that I was climbing were very narrow, and it wasn’t very easy to get a good foothold. However, Jesus was going up those steps just ahead of me. In my dream, He wore a white robe with a golden tie around his waist and leather sandals. Jesus talked to me as we ascended the steps. He had no problem whatsoever navigating the steps. At times he would turn around on the steps to encourage me. He said to me, “Just put your feet in the same places that my feet have been, and you will be alright.” I woke up from that dream, knowing that although the steps were slippery, hard to navigate, and scary, if I just followed Jesus, everything would be alright.
Jesus said in John 12:26
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Each of us has been given a personal charge to follow Jesus. We must not esteem family, possessions, or our selfish desires to deter us from following Him. We must move resolutely in the path that He has laid for us. We are to accept Jesus’s command, leadership, and guidance as we love the things that He loves and as we do the things that He would have us to do. There are no good excuses for not following Christ. If He has called us, we are well able to meet that call. Saying anything to the contrary implies that we know more than He does and that we esteem our will as more important than His.
Are you willing to follow Christ? Are you sold out to do any and everything that He requires of You? We walk by faith and not by sight. If we respond to His call to “Follow Me,” our lives will be complete, and, at the end of our earthly journey, we will be exceedingly glad that we did.