“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 4:19


I believe that we too often consider following Jesus and being with him as something warm and fuzzy. Sometimes Jesus is presented as though he’s there for our personal sense of comfort alone. But we need to remember that when Jesus called his first disciples, Andrew and Peter, away from their fishing nets, he wanted them to learn from him, one day to carry on his work. He didn’t invite them to come and relax with him.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? Briefly, I believe it means to ask him to come and live with us. Following him means to try and be like him, to say the kinds of things he might say, to do the kinds of things he might do. It means to let him work through us to love others. To live for others, and not for ourselves alone.

Being close to Jesus—in fellowship with him, as the Bible says—means for us to join with Jesus in what he goes through. And it means that Jesus will join us in what we go through. Spending time with Jesus is not only about relaxing with him, it’s about being a brother to him in his joy and in his suffering. (Hebrew 2:11)

Following Jesus means to suffer in fellowship with him. At those times you’re suffering, draw close to him and let your pain join with the pain you know he suffers. You will “become one with him.“ (Phil 3:9) This is not saying that your hurting will match his. But, in the sharing, you and Jesus will know each other.  It’s a relationship.

What a thought! To realize that you can be close to Jesus in all you go through. Your joy and your pain. As you travel with him, you’ll get to know him as he knows you.

In Philippians 3:8-11 NLT, the apostle Paul said,

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13)