What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?

Dr. John Barnett

Jesus said that eternal life is all about following Him; and He summarized His entire plan for the disciples in just two words: "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19). Those two words were what He spoke to Peter, Andrew, James and John as they fished and to Matthew as he sat at the tax office (Luke 5:27); and those two words are what He still calls for as He walks through this world.

Are you personally following Jesus? Does your day revolve around Him: as you start the day with seeking Him, as you go through the day serving Him, and end the day with thanking Him? Believers are Christ's personal followers in a Christ-less world.

Jesus explained as He taught, that His disciples were those who heard His voice, became His sheep, and "followed" Him (John 10:27). Jesus called those followers His disciples or "learners". The Gospels are a record of how disciples spent time with Jesus for over 3 years watching, listening, and most of all "following" Him.

Jesus called Himself the "Way"; and described salvation as the beginning a life-long journey of following Him (John 14:6). This call to a life of following needs to at times be renewed as Jesus demonstrated after His resurrection, when Peter was restored to ministry as Jesus again said "follow" Me (John 21:19).

... So Christ's plan was to have close, personal "followers" who were also learners and doers of His Way. They listened and followed Him as they learned from Him how to do what He did.

... The Church at the beginning was simple, everyone was following Jesus, acting so much like Him they were described by unbelievers as little-Christ-imitators or "Christ-ians". As the church gathered, they were taught that every facet of their lives were to be reflective of what they learned while following Jesus personally.

... This "learning and doing by example" model was the key to Titus 2 discipleship; Paul described a plan for having each person in Christ's Church actually involved in a life-long learning process of following Jesus Christ. In fact, believers are called little imitations or "mimics" of Jesus Christ. The Greek word in the Epistles for "follow" and "followers" is mimetes (literally "mimics").

Taken from "Followers of Christ in a Christ-less World" (used by permission).


Originally published April 30, 2010.

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