Sunday, October 26, 2008

"FOLLOW ME" Word-Study Devotional

"Followship" needs to be rediscovered and applied in the believer's everyday life. Although a bit more technical with the verb tenses, please read this devotional word study carefully and prayerfully. As always, if it ministers to you, FWD it to your email friends. If it needs clarification, email me. Your servant and His, BJ


“Follow Me.” Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But I want you to think of the thrust of the verb tense here and in the following verses. In Matthew 4:19, the verb tense is present indicative active when Jesus calls out to Peter and Andrew. Today, we might say it this way: “Come here now;” or, “Get over here, now.” That’s why you read next, “They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (v. 20; NKJV). Next, Jesus comes to two more fishermen, James and John, who were mending their nets. It simply says, “He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him” (v.21c-22). This verb tense, aorist indicative active, is similar to the above, but emphasizes a statement that occurred.

“Follow Me.” Akoloutheo (in Matt. 8:22, and hereafter: Strong’s #190) is a compound command: A = together, union + keleuthos = a road, a way. Put it together and you understand that Jesus is inviting His disciples to come and follow in His way. “Join Me now and follow in My steps,” we would say today. Here the verb tense is present imperative active. The pres. imper. leaves no room for pondering; it means “now.”

His call was not cloudy; it was clear. That’s why when one fellow wanted to wait until his father passed away, Jesus responded, “Follow Me [now] (pres. imper. act.), and let the dead bury their own dead [at the appropriate time] (aor. inf. act.)” (Matt. 8:22). When you are called to follow Jesus, there is no looking back (cf. Luke 9:62). Careers become secondary to the call. Family priorities change. The tax collector left his booth; the fishermen left their nets. Although there were times of doubt, only one of the original twelve betrayed the call.

Today’s “followship” might be what we call, “discipleship.” While some separate the call of becoming a Christian to the call of discipleship, here in the initial calling of Jesus to His disciples, there was no separation, no two callings. The initial call of Jesus to His disciples and to other potential followers was the same: “Follow Me” (Matt. 9:9), to the tax collector Matthew; to all His disciples (16:24); to the rich young ruler (19:21); all these are in the present imperative active, meaning, “Follow Me now.”

What does “followship” mean to you today? In the New Testament, there appears to be two responses: one is like the Jews, who had a religious relationship with God, but despised and criticized following Jesus imperatively and closely; the other is like the disciples (and others) who placed their worldly priorities aside and put Jesus at the forefront of their followship. The difference is recorded throughout the Scriptures. Listen to the following examples and see if you hear the call of followship:

“And when [the shepherd] brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep [immediately] follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:4; pres. ind. act.)

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me [now].” (John 10:27; again, pres. ind. act.)

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me [now]; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (John 12:26; here, pres. imper. act.)

Are you a sheep of His? Are you His servant? Then how is your followship? To enter into His followship, Jesus says, “You follow Me [now!]” (John 21:22; pres. imper. act.) Please interpret it the way He meant it.

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