Follow me. Matthew 9:9

These two simple words spoken from the lips of Jesus to Matthew changed Matthew’s life. Immediately. Scripture informs us that Matthew arose and followed him. No hesitation. No dickering as to what he was going to do once he did nor any sudden wonderment about the matter. Perhaps it went through his mind, but he did not hesitate to follow. Matthew obeyed. It was an act of obedience. It was an act of faith. Matthew was supernaturally touched by the power of the Lord, and followed.

Jesus is still saying to people Follow Me. His same touch of power and grace is with us today. For those who have chosen to follow Jesus, there are times when following Him will be not be smooth nor certain. Following the leadership of Jesus is unusual and costly. It will involve risk and sacrifice at times. It will be painful for love and faith are painful at times.

Jesus wants people to follow Him out of love. Jesus knows that to follow Him is the safest path in life, the most loving path, even when the path is difficult and painful. With Jesus we have a steady companion, strength to carry on, and an outcome of peace and affirmation only He offers. To say yes to Jesus is to make a choice infused with love and power. No other choice offers this.

For 40 days Jesus went into the wilderness in the Garden of Gethsemane to fast and pray; to ready Himself for the ultimate sacrifice for love—giving Himself to die on Calvary’s Cross. His act of obedience to the Father to go to Calvary was a loving act, but it did not look like it. When Jesus was crucified at Calvary, it was a gruesome death. He shed His innocent blood for the atonement of all sins. But that ugly act as our sacrificial and dying Lamb turned out to be a glorious beginning. That terrible day of darkness on Good Friday resulted in a great day of salvation for those who believe in Jesus and what the Saviour did.

Belief in Jesus and following Him places an invisible yet certain robe of righteousness around each follower. But that does not mean followers will not have to wear it in times of sorrow and sacrifice. The robe continues to be wrapped around the Lord’s followers when life hurts. That cloak is there. It is an unseen and unfailing covering for Christ’s followers to offer endurance in times of trial. Jesus came out victorious. So shall we.

This may be a challenging season in your life. It may be due to a death, a wayward son or daughter, job loss, displacement from a home, or a different trying experience. If you follow Jesus, He will be with you—always. Just as Matthew navigated through peculiar experiences because of following Jesus, the Lord blessed, guided and strengthened him. Jesus will do the same for you and for me. He cannot do less. Jesus is God, and He will never break His promise. Never. Hold on and carry on. Jesus is leading the way, and His is trustworthy to follow, all the way.

Lord, Your love is unequaled. The depth to which You love people is a depth that we cannot humanly measure, but we look to the Cross to see proof of how far You will go to secure our passage through this life into the life eternal. Lord, touch us again with Your Spirit and stir us so that we are fortified and moved to endure through difficult times. May our faith in You increase and our love for You deepen in this refining season. Thank You, Lord Christ, for never leaving our side and honoring our choice to follow You with the fullness of Yourself. Amen.