This past Sunday, we looked at the command of Jesus to "follow him." It struck me again this morning how that must have landed in the ears of the disciples who heard the command (in Mark 8).
"Follow me," he says. But he has already indicated to them an idea of the circumstances that would confront him in the immediate future. He told them he would suffer. He pulled no punches in telling them that he was about to be rejected by authority figures. The suffering would result in death (and a later vindicating resurrection). And then he says, "Follow me!"
Is it any wonder that Peter had some hefty reservations, and then verbalized them to Jesus? Is it any wonder that the disciples were confused? Is it any wonder that often our heart would rather serve ourselves than deny ourselves? Is it any wonder that we resist the offense of the cross? Is it surprising that Jesus would say in Matthew 7, that actually only a 'few' would walk on the path that he walked?
I want to follow him. I honestly do, but I want to be careful to search my heart with Spirit-filled discernment (and not make boastful statements assuring Jesus that 'although everyone else may leave him'...), I want to look closely at where his steps lead, and then follow him all the while trusting the Good Shepherd to not abandon me even as he leads me through the valley of the shadow of death.