As we take up our study of three-word phrases from the lips of our Savior, which are recorded in the Gospel of John, on this occasion, we hear Three Directing Words for the Feet – “Follow thou me.” (John 21:22).
In considering this statement, I notice the Curiosity of Peter. These words are directed at Peter in response to his question about what John would do in the future. The Lord had just told Peter what lay ahead in his future, and Peter wanted to know about John. “What shall this man do?” is Peter’s question. Is this not often what we do? Are we not often guilty of being more concerned with what others do than with what we do?
And in response, there is a Command for Peter – “Follow thou me.” This must have been convicting to Peter, for it is Peter of whom we read, “But Peter followed him afar off” (Matthew 26:58). Jesus, many years before, had said to Peter and his brother Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Now, at the close of His earthly sojourn, His command has not changed, “Follow thou me.”
And I believe that this is the Call to All People – “Follow thou me.” Christ desires to lead every individual on the journey of life. Where does He lead us if we would follow Him?
First, He leads to the cross for salvation. Paul declared that we are, “Justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:24-25). Again, the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). As songwriter Jessie Pounds expressed it;
I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the Gates of Light,
If the way of the cross I miss.
Second, He leads to the church for service. According to Ephesians 2:10, we are saved to serve. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” It is in the church that we come into membership; there, we are brought into maturity; and through it, we enter into ministry. Are we following Him in service?
Third, He leads to the community for soul-winning. Christ’s initial call to Peter and his brother Andrew was, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And now, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). Are we following Christ in seeking lost souls?
Fourth, He will lead through the clouds with a shout. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). May we follow Him in such a way today, that on that day, we can hear him say, “Well done.”
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Bro. Burcham served as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College before answering the call to pastor the Mountain Vista Baptist Church in Sierra Vista, AZ. Pastor Burcham travels each week to teach the next generation at GSBC. Before coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for several years and then pastored in Missouri.