In Matthew 4:19, Jesus says to His children to “follow me…” To follow Jesus is to pattern our lives after His life, and to serve God and our fellow men, as He did (1 John 2:6). In His earthly life, Jesus left a perfect example for all men to follow. The Christian needs to be thoroughly acquainted with that sinless life in order to copy it and apply its principles to conditions under which he himself must live. John states that he who claims to abide in Christ should give daily evidence that he is reflecting his Savior.
But what does that term “follow Me” entail? The would-be disciple must first renounce himself, his own plans, his own desires; then he must be willing to bear any cross that duty calls him to take up. “And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).
The Christian has been “called” to do good and to suffer in the doing of it, if need be. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). The apostle is here writing about the noble example of patience Christ provided in relation to His sufferings.
Christ suffered patiently, confident that God would make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 2:19). “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). For the Christian there can be no crown without a cross, though Satan in the wilderness offered Christ the crown of this world by another path rather than the cross (Matthew 4:8, 9; 16:22).
But the response to the command “follow Me” is done by the power of God in the life of the believer. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). God provides the stimulus for our decision to accept salvation and power to make that decision effective. We only need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by connecting ourselves to Him daily through the study of the Scriptures, prayer and obedience (John 15:4).
In His service,