‘Follow me’. Forget Twitter. Jesus has been calling people to follow him for 2000 years. The phrase seems simple or innocent enough when written down, but if we act on it, these words can be world changing.
Jesus said them to Levi, and in the course of a short conversation Jesus put Levi’s life on a totally different track (Luke 5:27). As a tax collector, Levi would have been a bit of an outcast. He would have taken money from his own people to give to the ruling Romans. People wouldn’t have trusted him, let alone liked him, and yet Jesus calls him, and in doing so begins to transform his future.
Jesus calls us in the same way. He asks us to follow him, no matter who we are, what we’ve done or where we’re at. The reason? Well, he knows he’ll be waiting a long time if he only asks people who’ve got it all together.
We’re all broken and all of us have struggles, but in asking us to follow him, Jesus is seeing beyond it all. Despite our mess, he can – and will – use us.
And if they, in their confusion and pain can still choose to follow him when everything is thrown at them, then we can keep following despite our struggles, questions or general life mess.
That’s one of the things that is so encouraging about even the harshest stories that come from people who are persecuted for following Jesus. Yes, the stories are shocking. And yes we’re desperate to see persecution against Christians end. But our family around the world who suffer for their faith are, like us, still going in their journey with Jesus. And if they, in their confusion and pain can still choose to follow him when everything is thrown at them, then we can keep following despite our struggles, questions or general life mess.
Nearly a year ago, Father Francis, a Dutch priest who spent 40 years serving the community in Homms, Syria, was shot dead. He followed Jesus through some horrific situations. There were food shortages, bombs and violence. But despite the warnings, he chose to remain. Knowing he could well be a target, he said “I don’t want to leave alone the 28 Christians that have remained”.
Following Jesus led Father Francis on a long, dangerous journey, full of struggles, pains and disappointments. But he kept following. Despite his questions and doubts he didn’t give up, no matter what it would cost him.
None of us are perfect, but if we can choose to keep following Jesus, despite our mess, then we know he’ll use us to show some of his perfect love to the world. So don’t give up. Keep following.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.