Following Jesus, this Rabbi from Nazareth was of the utmost importance to these teens and young adults he called disciples, each of whom came from every existence at the time.
Some of these followers left family, some left lovers, others left jobs and some were rejected by the world around them. These men and women knew what it was like to be unwanted and alone.
At times, we see them exhibit that following Jesus was more important than funerals of family members, more important than having any possessions and more important than life itself. (Luke 9:61)
Following this Jesus was so important to these young men and women that they would neglect everything so that whatever Jesus was doing at the moment would be the one and only focus in their daily life.
I can make that statement fully confident that this was the mindset of many of Jesus’ followers.
I can see that same passion with teens from every denomination in Christianity.
But wait, I can also see the same passion with Buddhist, Muslim and Mormon followers. It’s limitless; the passion exhibited is something that seems to be universal and not exclusively tied to Christianity or followers of Jesus. We have even pondered how serial killers and cult leaders could also have similar dedication from their followers. So following Jesus must be about something more than just walking a similar path he did.
In fact, we see this passion in music scenes that have risen in the past such as Jazz, Hip-Hop, Hardcore and more. We have witnessed that all have followers that exhibit similar passion.
In these times of confusion, I love to dive into the wisdom that is the historical writings of Judaism. For me, the wisdom hidden in many early Jewish writings is a daily inspiration and guidance and more-so, knowing Jesus searched for the same wisdom in his life.
One of the Hebrew words used for following someone in the Torah, which is the name for some of the Jewish scriptures or the Christian Old Testament, means to follow after and carry something.
This is insightful and easy to pass over, as with much wisdom that presents itself in life.
When they spoke of following someone, it didn’t stop with following after someone but they insisted something would have to be carried. Following was not just about walking after someone.
The illustration we are beginning to see is that if someone follows a person or idea, they begin to carry what they are following or they begin to carry something the person they are following is carrying.
The Christian journey as it has evolved has also changed in its idea of what being a follower of Jesus really means.
I mean this not as an insult but an accountable observation. In our western churches, it’s often rare to see a church take place in a public place or common area.
Padded pews are a luxury of the Jesus follower of the past. We now have booming mega churches, media software that out-does most organizations, church brand coffee, bands that are composed of award winning musicians and sound systems that put arenas to shame.
Is this what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Come follow me”?
Are we carrying the same passion and call Jesus did when he walked the earth? Is his burden our burden?
Are you following Jesus empty handed?
Adapted from Barefoot Christianity coming next Tuesday!