Probably because of the terminal mass of assumptions that have been attached to the term "Christian", it has become popular to identify oneself as a Jesus Follower. It's an attempt to differentiate oneself from merely attending church or from adhering to a particular set of mostly-radically-right-wing political positions.
In essence, I applaud the effort. But last Wednesday night's Bible study at my home congregation made me take a closer look at the concept of following Jesus.
We were looking at the first chapter of Mark's gospel, and I was particularly impacted by Francis Chan's comments about Mark 1:16-20, which reads:
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay, he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Chan's passionate comments about those verses focused on how different following Jesus was for those fishermen compared to what most of us mean when we use the term.
James and John didn't just agree with what Jesus was teaching. Simon and Andrew went beyond meeting weekly at the local synagogue. When they became Jesus Followers, they actually...you know...got off their duffs and followed Jesus.
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Truth is...If I'm going to call myself a Jesus follower, it involves more than an intellectual assent. It requires action. I need to pay attention to where Jesus is going and what Jesus is doing and I need to go there and do that.