Truly Follow Jesus

Text: John 21:19b
After this he said to him, “Follow me.” (NRSV)

In John 13, Jesus tells Peter that Peter cannot follow him now but, in our text from John 21, Jesus says to Peter, “Follow me.”  What is the difference?  Why now?  The difference is that, in between these two texts, Jesus has breathed the Holy Spirit into the disciples (John 20:22).

We may desire to follow Jesus once we have heard about him.  What we read in our Bibles certainly makes Jesus attractive to us.  The messages we hear in a church service or from Christian friends draws our attention to Jesus.  But we can’t truly follow Jesus until we have turned everything over to him and receive the Holy Spirit that he breaths into our lives.

It is the power of the Holy Spirit that changes a desire to follow Jesus into the ability to follow Jesus.  Peter and the other disciples did their best while Jesus walked this earth.  But they were almost always misunderstanding what Jesus was telling them.  They were almost always doing things that would cause Jesus to shake his head.  Jesus would have to tell them again and again what the future would hold for him, and they still did not get it until after Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them.

Have you been having trouble understanding Jesus’ words in Scripture?  Have you struggled to obey even the simplest commands of our Lord, “Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself”?  Then, ask God to pour the Holy Spirit into your life.  Receive the Holy Spirit that you might be empowered to truly follow Jesus.

Pray with me:
Jesus, it is my desire to follow you with my whole life.  When I find that I do not understand your will, when I find that I don’t have the power on my own to do that part of your will that I do understand; fill me with your Holy Spirit and make my will your own.  AMEN.

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