When I first joined the Air Force I was trained to become an aircraft mechanic. Instead of going to the flight line to be an F-4 crew chief, I was given the more desirable job of working in the Transient Alert sector of maintenance. The TA folks at the various bases worldwide are the guys who go out to meet an aircraft coming in from a different base,and lead them to the parking apron, service the aircraft, then launch them back out.
We would usually drive out in our TA trucks, meet the aircraft as they taxied off the runway, and illuminate a big “Follow Me” sign—guiding them along the taxiways to where they needed to park. Without that service, and if the flight crew was unfamiliar with the base, it would be easy to get lost and wind up somewhere they shouldn’t.
It was a thrill for me, a 20-year-old kid at the time, who only months earlier worked in a gas station pumping gas—to be able to lead in fighters, bombers, training aircraft, helicopters, transports, VIP aircraft, and even once the USAF Thunderbirds demonstration team coming in for an air show, as well as a United Airlines DC-8 passenger jet that diverted into our base due to a bomb threat. It was a more interesting job then being regulated to working out on the flight line on the same aircraft day after day.
Now years later, as a pilot, I depend on those folks a lot when I fly into an airfield—either military or civilian; onto airfields I have never been on before. Construction may be taking place that may close off a taxiway or present hazards while taxiing. It can be very reassuring to have a “Follow Me” sign leading the way instead of venturing out on one’s own, and taking the wrong path.
I was reading earlier today in the gospel account of Matthew, of how the Lord, early on in His ministry, walked up to complete strangers—fishermen and tax collectors, of all things, and told them simply, “Follow Me.” Hence, the inspiration for this article. With those two words, it dawned on me that in a previous job at an early age, I was paid to drive around a vehicle with those exact words illuminated to guide in strangers to a different base. If nothing else, that position gave me the experience and motivation years later to write an article that correlated to a sign that read “Follow Me” and Jesus’ very words to those who would come after Him.
And what advice it is! And how it changed the outcome of those who heard it and heeded it. The first instance is in Matthew 4:18, where it reads that the Lord was walking along the Sea of Galilee and saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, fishing. He called out to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
I’m sure it wasn’t a mere coincidence that the Lord just happened to be walking in that locale and that the two brothers, just by chance, were the ones the Lord spoke to. They may have started the day off thinking about nothing else other than fish, but instead, had a divine encounter with the Creator of the universe—that would radically alter the course of their lives.
Then, almost immediately after Jesus spoke with Peter and Andrew, two more brothers—James and John, were also out fishing. In this case with their father, Zebedee, and they two were summoned to follow Jesus.
Then, later, in Matthew 9:9, we read of Jesus walking by a man who was collecting taxes, Matthew, and to him, He also said Follow Me. It is somewhat interesting that in Matthew’s account of this encounter, he refers to himself as Matthew, but in Mark, Luke and John, Matthew is referred to as Levi.
In John 1:43, the account tells us that Jesus, while walking in Galilee and in the same town that Peter and Andrew were from, that He found Phillip and said to him: Follow Me.
What is interesting in these encounters, is how immediate the responses were from those to whom Jesus said “Follow Me.”
Peter and Andrew, the King James says, “straightway, they left their nets, and followed Him.
James and John, “they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”
Regarding Matthew, “and he arose and followed him.”
And it says of Phillip, that he went to Nathanael to persuade him to follow after Jesus.
Their responses were immediate; no hemming or hawing, no “Let me go talk it over with the missus first.” No “I need to return the boat and get my deposit back.” Or, no “Let me wait for Jerry to come in on the second shift to continue collecting taxes.” Nothing like that.
They immediately left everything and followed Him. These men forsook all on a moment’s notice to follow Jesus. Did the Lord know that this would be their response and this is perhaps why He chose them? Possibly. They may have already been disillusioned with their present circumstances and were looking for a greater purpose.
There were of course some whom He had asked to follow Him but found excuses why not to. Matthew 8:19 talks about a certain scribe who came up to Jesus and told Him that he wanted to follow after Him. Jesus told him that foxes have holes, birds have nests but that the Lord has nowhere to lay His head. That is the last you read of this scribe; perhaps he wasn’t too keen on the idea of being without the creature comforts and maybe thought it wasn’t worth giving all of that up. It seems Jesus cut right to the chase, knew what was in this man’s heart, and that this scribe was not willing to forsake all to follow Him.
There was also the young man in Matthew 19:16 who had great possessions, who had claimed that he kept all the commandments from his youth and up. When Jesus told him to sell all that he had and to follow Christ, the man went away sad, loving the riches more than the chance to follow Jesus. We are even admonished in Matthew 16:24, when Jesus, talking to His disciples says: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
What are we not willing to give up to follow after Christ?
“Follow Me.” Great words; words of wisdom. What other path is there that leads to life other than following Him?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they Follow Me” (John 10:27).
“Follow Me” can be implied in John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by me.”
Not only should we follow Him for eternal life; of course, that is paramount, but we should also follow His examples of how to conduct ourselves and live the Christian life. It is amazing how some have deviated from what the Lord and His Apostles taught and practiced. Instead, they have implemented their own ideas on how to be a Christian.
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist. Did He need it? No. But as He said to John, “for righteousness sake” and to set an example He was baptized. He did this as full grown adult and at the start of His ministry. So why not follow His example? After a person is saved by trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and accepts His free gift of salvation (to all those who believe), then should get baptized—as an outward sign of what has already transpired inwardly; and as a profession of faith. Why have an infant baptized when they are not cognitive of any sin and are incapable of realizing their need for a savior?
Shouldn’t we also follow Jesus’ example of how to pray? To the Father only, and not to angels or Mary, or dead saints? And not in vain repetitions, such is done in praying the rosary? Why add to what He has instructed us in the manner in which we should pray? Should we follow Him or do it our own way?
“Follow Me” and Christ’s example should be the way we conduct ourselves. If Christ didn’t teach it or the Apostles didn’t scribe it, then we should avoid it. Tradition is great, if it falls in line with what Jesus commanded us and what the inerrant Word of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit instructs us, as confirmed in 2 Timothy 3:16:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Tradition should never supplant, erase, supersede or substitute what the infallible Word of God tells us. It is difficult to follow after Christ if we are teaching and abiding by things that are contrary to His Word. Better to follow Him, then to follow mankind.
Jesus Christ, in the Holy Scriptures, is often referred to as the Light of the world. In an ever-darkening world, His Light brightly illumines and His call to fallen Man is, “Follow Me.” He guides us through the storms of life and brings us safely through the trials and temptations that we encounter. If we follow Him, we will never get lost. He makes straight our path. He leads us to safe shelter. He will never steer us wrong. Without His presence and His guidance in our lives, we are doomed to follow a wayward course, whose ultimate destination is destruction and to be eternally lost.
The enemy disguises himself as an “angel of light.” His “follow me” plans have deceived countless souls. His masquerades include alternate courses of action, devoid of the Savior, intended to lead people into a Christ-less eternity. He leads them on a broad path to destruction through the enticements of false religions and beguiling schemes intended to keep their focus off the true means of salvation. The light he shines is a black light and its illumination never reveals the Truth. Sadly, many are lured by its attractiveness and blindly follow his siren call.
Jesus is pleading with mankind to follow Him. Only He can offer true salvation. Why would we want to follow any other false system of salvation that has zero chance of achieving what only Christ can offer? Jesus Christ as God, created the world. He became a man to die in our stead for the forgiveness of our sins; He fills us with His Holy Spirit to seal us, guide us, comfort us and to point us back to Jesus. How can the devil possibly offer up a better plan than what Jesus has done for us?
Satan is headed for destruction and is bent on taking as many captives as he can to the lake of fire along with him. Following him is foolhardy and its consequences are eternal. To follow after anything other than Christ will only lead to an appointment at the Great White Throne judgment, where the one who begs “Follow Me.” Jesus Christ will be the Judge, Jury and Executioner and a lifelong sentence in an eternity of will be imprisonment in the lake of fire, with absolutely no chance of a pardon or parole. And only because they rejected the One who beckons “Follow Me.”
Is it worth it? To follow after something else besides Jesus Christ? No, never…absolutely not.
Don’t be deceived! Harken to the imploring call of Jesus when He invites “Follow Me”:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:20, 21)
“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 honor” (John 12:26)
Do all for the glory of Christ – firstname.lastname@example.org