We call ourselves “Christians”, followers of Christ. But are we really followers and in what sense? Is our following of Christ like following a regime, say, for example, like “Dry January” or taking on a new diet, trying to bring some order and discipline into our life? While it is true that being a Christian can in fact bring all the benefits that these various regimes might bestow on us, being a follower of Christ has to be much more than this. Is it knowing all the rules that go with being a member of the “Christian Club”, being sure of all the rituals, the minutiae of the law, knowing the catechism inside out? Well, while being a follower of Christ might very well entail all these things, it is much more. Is it to do with a quoting the Scripture easily, grasping all the nuances of the Bible and being able to offer texts for every situation? Surely all this and more.
Look to the first followers of Jesus, Peter and Andrew, they were drawn to Jesus, they were stopped in their tracks by him, they were called by him on the shore of the Lake of Galilee (Matt 4.18), and so powerful was the effect of that call that they left everything behind them and followed him. He drew the crowds to him, they wanted to listen to him, just like the people in the synagogue when Jesus read the passage Isaiah (Luke 4 16-21): “And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them…” When he cast out demons, calmed the storm, the people were amazed at him and his miraculous power (Matt 8.27). Through listening, seeing, experiencing, being in the presence of Jesus, their relationship with him grew stronger and stronger.
I would say that these are the words which describe what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus; people who are able to listen, see, experience, to be in the presence of Jesus and therefore grow stronger and stronger in relationship with him. Do I, do you listen to Jesus, see him, experience him, are we able to be in his presence so as to grow in stronger relationship with him?
Through listening, seeing, experiencing, and being in the presence of Jesus, the Living Word of God, may our relationship with him grow stronger and stronger as we encounter him anew as our Risen Lord this Easter.
Yours in blessed hope,