« Follow Me...Now What Does that Mean? Part 2 by Eric H. Janzen | Main | Eastern Orthodox perspective on "the End Times" by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo »

September 12, 2007

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Eric H Janzen

Thanks for your comments Brad.

I agree with you that following Jesus means to go where he goes. It means to participate with him in what he is doing. The very words 'follow me' imply that we are going somewhere and we are going to do something. This article is the first in a series that I've written. As a whole all of them look at what it means to follow him from different angles based on various scriptures. In this article I wanted to basically say that there is a foundation for us to stand on as we set out to follow him, and that is to love God with all we've got and to love our neighbours as ourselves. The practical living out of these commands follows suit. You give a good example in that you loved your friends enough to get involved when they needed help. Had you no real love for them you probably would not have bothered. And if you had no real love for Jesus you wouldn't have listened when he asked you follow him into the situation.

I disagree with you about the calling of the disciples though. I think when Jesus said to them "follow me" they probably recognized that he was indeed a rabbi and they understood the cultural significance of what it meant to be invited by a rabbi to follow him. I don't think fishermen in the midst of working would drop their livlihood to just go and hang out. I think there must have been something profound that drew them to Jesus in those initial encounters where they were called.

I also place more importance on walking with Jesus in relationship first, before basing our lives on his teachings. The christians that I know whom I look up to are those that live according to Jesus' teachings because they know him and love him. Christians that annoy me are those who simply follow the teachings as religion and rules to live by, without giving much thought to their actual relationship with God.

Have a great day Brad.

cheers,
ehj

Brad Huebert

A couple of years ago I was wrestling (again) with what Jesus' meant by "Follow me." The traditional view has been something like,

1. Give your life to me.
2. Base my life on my teachings and live by them. IE, this article.

Granted. The traditional "rabbi/apprentice" arrangement.

But on another level, I also think we've over spirtualized this. To his discples, what did "Follow me!" mean? Like, the moment they heard it?

I think it meant something more along the lines of, "Hey, I'm going to the market. Want to come along?" As in, "Come, spend time with me." And so they follow. And they keep following. It means, "Where I am, there my servant will also be," to quote Jesus. Think literally for a minute. Drop the figurative, you can pick it back up later.

To follow Jesus means to go where he goes. To follow his lead. It's not just about the heart, it's about "location." Discipleship is still a concrete thing, as Dallas Willard reminds us in the Divine Conspiracy. And not just in a moral sense, in a directive sense.

A couple of years ago, a friend's marriage was in trouble. Jesus, in effect, said to me, "I'm going in. Follow me." So I did, refusing to mind my own business, and their marriage is better for it.

Of course, to follow Jesus does ALSO mean to give our lives to him and base our lives on his teachings. And the stuff you've highlighted above is a good peek at that. Especially the bit about our minds - "If our ways of thinking and the activities of our mind prevent or hinder us from loving God then we are not following the command he has given us." NICE thought. I'll chew on that awhile.

Those are my two cents.

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