Imagine a young intern who was told by the company executive to “follow me.” This young intern would shadow his boss and learn by watching how he operated in meetings, how he addressed others, and how he did business. The intern was then given such responsibilities as carrying the materials, watching over and distributing the reports. After a period of proven faithfulness as an intern, this person is made to be an assistant.
As the assistant, he now has more input and more independent responsibilities. He may be asked to write the report or contribute in the meetings in explaining the reports and strategies. He may be asked to set the appointments, prepare the meetings, and set the stage for the executive to be effective.
One day, the executive tells him to represent him at the meetings. He can speak on his behalf, and even make some decisions because the assistant has learned well the intentions and practices of his boss.
When Jesus told Andrew, Peter, Nathaniel, and Phillip to “follow me” it was literal. They could go where he went, listen to him teach, watch him do miracles, and observe him rebuke the Pharisees. They followed him around like a young interns. They soon learned his style, motives, and purposes. Even up to the crucifixion, they had questions as to how he operated because it was wonderful and mysterious at the same time.
Imagine the day after Jesus died, they became his assistants. This kind of “follow me” is different. It meant do things like you saw me do. They were told to meet him as a certain place and he would show up there. After breakfast on the beach He said to Peter “Feed my sheep.”
One day, as He ascends, He tells them “follow me” as they will be his representatives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he makes it possible. They no longer physically follow him, nor they assist him, but are entrusted with his purpose and motives. They have power to act like him, speak like Him, and even do miracles like him.
We too go through these 3 stages of “follow me.”
- If you follow the written word and observe what Jesus is doing, you are in the internship stage.
- If you help, then you are in the assistant stage.
- If you are empowered to represent him, you will speak and act on his behalf
In what stage of “follow me” are you?
In all cases, the main ingredients are obedience and faithfulness in the Holy Spirit.