With just two simple words Jesus Christ opened the Kingdom of God to all who would respond. These two words continue to resound from His throne to us today, and we do well to pay attention.
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As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. Matthew 9:9 ESV
There are three things we need to notice about the King’s call to Matthew.
This was not an invitation. The King never issues an invitation. This was a command, plain and simple.
Both the King and Matthew understood the full implications of this command.
The only thing waiting to be seen was whether or not Matthew would obey.
Matthew obeyed and entered the Reign of God as a result. With his example in mind, let’s take a look at the implications of Christ’s command to follow Him.
A New Path
When the King commands us to follow Him, He requires us to forsake whatever path we were on previously. We cannot walk in two directions at once. We must immediately turn and fall in line behind the King.
This is what repentance is all about. To repent literally means to turn after thought. Like Matthew, we have to consider what the Lord requires and make a decision. To obey means leaving behind the life we have known in order to walk a new path with the King in the lead.
In order to follow someone you have to keep them in sight. To lose sight of the one we are following leaves us to wander aimlessly until we reconnect with them. Therefore it is essential that we keep them in focus.
Following the King is no different. We need to make a vital connection with Him throughout our day to keep Him in our line of sight. Otherwise we are left to ourselves, which is usually not a good place to be.
Following on the heels of focus is obedience. If we are following someone through traffic, we have to immediately do whatever they do. If they turn left, we turn left. If they stop, we stop. It’s not rocket science.
By the same token, the King sets the direction and the pace of the path before us as we follow Him. Think about Matthew. From the moment he obeyed the command to follow, the whole direction of his life was set by the King. If Jesus went to Jerusalem, Matthew went to Jerusalem. If Jesus was healing the sick, Matthew was there assisting as required. When Jesus fed the five thousand, Matthew was handing out loaves and fishes. In this way Matthew kept the King in focus and allowed Him to direct his path. We must do the same.
Who Are YOU Following?
Everyone is following someone. If we are not intentionally pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ, we are by default following the course of the godless system of the world (Ephesians 2:1 – 3). So who are YOU following? Only those who daily follow King Jesus are truly living in the Reign.