I’ll bet the word “follow” is used a billion times more today than it was ten years ago, before Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Back then, we played games like follow the leader. And we thought about following the directions or not following too closely when we were driving. Or we got nervous if we felt like someone was following us.
But today, when the average person has 338 Facebook friends (followers), and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list with over 122 million, the idea of following someone has taken on a whole new meaning. Following someone on social media is easy. It’s a click. It doesn’t mean much, but it does mean something. It says I’m interested in you, your life, your art, your relationships.
Jesus had a lot of followers. In his day, He was really popular. Without media, social or otherwise, you don’t draw crowds like He did without having something going on. But the intriguing thing is how He drew serious followers. Not just spectators . . . followers. Men and women who would literally leave their homes and families and walk miles so they could be with Him. So they could hear what He would say next. See the next miraculous thing He would do.
Consider this . . .
- Jesus had a good reputation – We know that as a teenager, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). We know He grew up in a community and worked with Joseph as a carpenter. He was a working man and probably friends with some of those He called to be His disciples.
- Jesus was respected in the church and community – As early as twelve years old, He was already a student of the Scriptures, amazing older people with His wisdom and insight. Ultimately, Jesus was ascribed “rabbi-ship” by those who knew Him, listened to His words, and watched His life.
Jesus’ behavior was attractive. He was brilliant in His knowledge of the Word, but He was also ascribed favor by the people inside and outside His community. These two things help explain why people were interested in following Him. It wasn’t just the spectacle; it was also the way of life He was teaching and modeling.
Are you looking for someone to follow? Look beyond someone’s social media profile. Do they have a good reputation? Do the people in their spheres of influence respect them?
And what about you? Do you aspire to be a leader worth following? If you authentically follow Jesus, before long, you’ll turn around and find people following you.
Scripture: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)