Following is imitating

In John 1:37 we read: “When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.”

Following Jesus. It’s something Christians do. But what does it mean? We can’t physically follow him because he isn’t physically here. I can follow a friend’s car down main street because I can see it. But I can’t see Jesus.

I know this might sound elementary, but if we don’t know what we mean by the word “following” then we’ll be less effective as followers.

Does it mean liking Jesus? Or loving him? Or believing in him? It certainly includes those things. But Bede, the church father, provides a helpful word for those of us today who can’t see a flesh-and-blood Jesus on the sidewalk in front of us.

“You follow the Lord if you imitate him.”*

Following means imitating. We’re not going to get it right all the time, of course. And you might not have the miraculous ability to raise someone from the dead or turn water into wine! But this is a helpful and clarifying way to think about it. We learn what he says; we do what he says to do; and we try to do the kinds of things he did.

“You follow the Lord if you imitate him.”


Notes:

–*Homilies on the Gospels 1.17.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on March 7, 2022.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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