We’ve been talking about what it looks like to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and through this personal relationship to grow to know God as your heavenly Father. Your heavenly Father. Personal. Intimate. Real. Jesus promises to show you the way into this relationship, as well as to show you the way to having him as your best friend.
Perhaps you thought the way was trying so very hard to follow all the rules, but Jesus’ invitation is, “Follow me,” not, “Follow my rules.”
I was walking around downtown Greenville recently and a Canadian couple approached me asking for directions. I knew exactly how to tell them the way to their destination, but I quickly realized that even though it wasn’t complicated, it would sound complicated. So I simply said, “Just follow me and I’ll show you the way.”
This is Jesus’ invitation to you, and his promise to do the same for you. On his last night with his disciples, Jesus said, “You know the way to the place I am going.” Philip, speaking for all of us, responded with, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
To which Jesus said, “Don’t you remember all I taught you, Philip? Shame on you. Go back and study your notes from my Sermon on the Mount. And here’s my lecture outline on “12 Steps to Finding the Way.”
No, Jesus actually answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. … If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:4-7)
“I am the way. Follow me.” Simple. Direct. Easy to understand. But gosh we make it complicated, don’t we? We get distracted by all kinds of “What about?” and “What if?” questions, and worries about anything and everything, except the only thing … person that matters. People distract us. Denominations distract us. Other Christian’s behavior distracts us. Doctrine and theology distract us.
The apostle Peter had this distraction issue throughout the time he followed Jesus:
Peter and Jesus are walking down the beach together. It is after the resurrection, which means Peter has seen Jesus dead and buried, and has since seen him alive, several times. One might think this would simplify things for Peter.
And for us as well. But Peter is distracted by another disciple following them. So he says, “Lord, what about him?” That’s us! “What about? What if?” Jesus’ answer to Peter is his same answer to you and to me: ” …what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:21-22 italics added)
“You must follow me.” You … as in you, my friend, must follow Jesus – personally, individually. Not follow your church, your small group leader, and certainly not the culture. And all those distractions? “What’s that to you? You must follow me.”
May you focus on following Jesus, not following rules. Because there is nothing personal nor powerful about rules without a relationship.