To Jesus’ followers back in the day, “Follow me” was a literal statement, something akin to, “hey, I’m heading to this particular geographic location, come with.” As a rabbi, it was also an invitation to accept His teachings, which for this army of ragtag volunteers meant certain physical danger.
For them, it was hard to screw up, misinterpret, or miss Jesus’ meaning altogether because He would immediately get in their face and make an attempt at setting them straight.
We don’t have that today. We’ve got our Bibles, and our interpretations of our Bibles, and our Christian culture, and from that we try to figure out the life that Jesus wants us to live. We don’t have Jesus in our faces every time we get something wrong.
For many of us, especially us Evangelicals, we’ve distilled His invitation to “follow” into three categories:
- Think the right things about Jesus and God (theology)
- Embrace a particular list of rules and try hard not to break them (morality)
- Protect our world from moral decay (politics)
I’d add an unwritten rule to this list: no matter what the cost, be safe. Don’t get in trouble, don’t make anyone mad (unless they’re not Christian) and for God’s sake don’t get yourself killed.
As an Evangelical of 30 years I understand this list, and with the exception of being a dyed in the wool conservative, this is my list too – especially the safety part. I don’t like physical pain, or danger, or fear, and there are plenty of places I could go and get hurt telling people about Jesus. Continue reading What Jesus Meant When He Said “Follow Me,” and How it Should Affect Our Political Anger