“Then Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life’.” – John 8:12
In this day and age, people follow other folks regularly and some desire to be followed by as many people as possible on social media outlets. I’ve heard some people revel in having certain individuals follow them on social media and having a specific amount of followers. I don’t understand all the hype, but I think if Jesus could have a social media account, He’d top the charts with the most followers.
In just looking at a short period of time in Jesus’ life, we can see that He had great crowds of people, practically, on His heels everywhere He went. When He traveled, large crowds followed Him (Matthew 8:1). When He went to another region, “the whole town went out to meet Him” (Matthew 8:28, 34).
Even when Jesus visited other people’s homes, “many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus” (Matthew 9:10). Blind men even followed Jesus (Matthew 9:27). If you can’t see and you literally follow behind someone, then that person must be pretty important. I can see and I don’t have a desire to follow behind any human being. And if I couldn’t see, I wouldn’t dare risk falling to follow behind just anybody. But Jesus wasn’t any ol’ body and He wasn’t just a man. Jesus was God when He walked on the earth, and He still is today.
Just the fact that He had so many people following Him, under sometimes adverse conditions, testifies to His greatness. People would follow Him despite their hunger (Matthew 15:32), despite their physical deficiencies (Matthew 9:20, 27), and despite their discomfort (Matthew 13:2; 14:13).
But really, it was because of their weariness, their lack, and their need that they followed Jesus. He had something and He was someone that all the crowds so desperately needed – a Savior. And today, we are in so desperate a need of the Savior, as well.
It wasn’t only people who had good intentions that followed Jesus, either. The Pharisees followed Him and “plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Matthew 12:14).
Just thinking of it from a human perspective, Jesus didn’t have any space or much time to Himself. I don’t think a human being alone could have handled that. Yes, there are celebrities today and other public figures that have to face a constant barrage of people who feel entitled to their whole entire lives, but what Jesus experienced was different.
And I don’t know how big name movie stars, entertainers, and celebrities do it. I wouldn’t and don’t want anybody following my every single waking, sleeping, eating, and breathing move. That’s kind of stalker-ish. Why people feel like they can have total access to another human being is beyond me. Nobody wants to be surveilled and followed every day of their lives. It’s a form of theft, and it’s highly unethical.
I think there should be a law against that for celebrities and public figures – and, even for private citizens, like me, who aren’t in the spotlight. Following, taking pictures of, videoing, or recording people without their permission and distributing it or disseminating it to the public should be a federal crime, because those types of things could cross all kinds of state lines in this digital age.
It may already be a law. I don’t know. If it isn’t, I’m making it a law for me and signing it to be effective for all time, even after I die. I don’t want to be followed, spied on, photographed, videoed, recorded, or have my image or likeness placed on any type of social media, in any type of media, or on online forums….If only I had such real power….I have chosen to not even place my likeness on my blog site.
But Jesus was and is Lord, so it didn’t bother Him like it would you and me being constantly followed. He wanted and wants people to follow Him, because He has the words of life. He had compassion on the crowds of followers, and He has compassion on you and me because we are sheep in need of a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). And Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd of our souls (John 10:11; 1 Peter 5:4).
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves” (Matthew 11:28). Sin is a burden. If you haven’t had yours sins washed by the blood of the Lamb through water baptism, then Jesus’ plea is that you come follow Him.
He also said, “Whoever doesn’t take up His cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). His sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice (John 10:4, 27). Those who don’t believe are not His sheep (John 10:26). Are you following Jesus?