As One Who Follows
Have you seen Greg Olsen’s painting, “Lost and Found”? It shows Jesus sitting on a park bench with a modern young man. They are looking rather intently at each other. Alongside the park bench is the young man’s pack and bedroll. Olsen’s original painting has no caption, but the version floating around the Internet reads, “No, I’m not talking about Twitter. I literally want you to follow me.”
One of my Facebook friends posted it and the image and caption have stuck with me ever since, along with the persistent question: “What does it mean to follow?”
Jesus uses the words “follow me” in the Gospels on three notable occasions. The first is when he calls his earliest followers (see Matthew 4, Mark 2, and Luke 5). The second: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” is quoted in Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23, with Luke adding that this is to be done “daily.” And the third: “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me,” in John 21:22.
I’m no theologian and I will offer no theological explanation, but I will share a recent experience:
I was asking directions in an especially tricky part of town and the person who was trying to give the directions finally shrugged and said, “Tell you what, I’ll just drive it and you follow me.”
I said, with a bit of a smile, “I will try to stay close enough not to get lost.”
He smiled back, “I’ll keep an eye on the mirror and make sure I don’t lose you.”
Friends often speak of Jesus as our Present Teacher and Guide. Works for me.
Query for Reflection
Do I keep close enough to Jesus to prevent getting lost?
The next time things get tricky, stop and be quiet long enough to find the Guide who said, “Follow me.”
Father, you sent your Son to lead. Help me take up my cross—daily—and follow.