March 20, 2021 — Is Walking Behind The Same As Following?

“Some time ago,” Stan began, “we talked a little about a fellow who is known in the Bible as ‘Simon of Cyrene.’  I don’t know if you remember that or not.”

“It might surprise you,” I replied, “but I do remember.  He’s the one the Roman guards pressed into service to carry Jesus’ cross on the way to Calvary.  [Note to reader:  See Posting Number 459, “Choosing the Place of Service—or not.”]

“Well done, my friend,” Stan said.  “I was looking at that story again earlier this morning and saw a little different perspective on it and how it relates to my faith walk.”

“In what way?”

“The question of whether a person, especially me, follows Jesus or just walks behind Him.”

“Follows or just walks behind? How so?”

“In Luke’s gospel account of this story, it says that Simon had Jesus’ cross placed on him and he walked behind Jesus.”

“So?”

“To me,” Stan replied, “this account of Simon is an illustration that’s important for my choices involving discipleship.”

“In what way?”

“As we’ve talked about, the first step of discipleship is to deny self.  I’m not sure Simon did that because it says he was ‘pressed’ into doing what he did.  To me, this indicates he didn’t choose to do it on his own.  The second step of discipleship is to take up the cross.  Simon did that, but again, I don’t think he did it voluntarily.  Finally, he walked behind Jesus, but probably didn’t ‘follow’ Him in the third step of discipleship.”

Continuing, he added, “Looking at this story from this standpoint is, to me, a clear reflection of me and my failure too often to be involved in discipleship as intended, especially the third step of following Jesus.  Discipleship involves a lot of choices, continual choices that too often I don’t make.  The result is that often I just walk behind Jesus, rather than choosing to deliberately follow Him wherever He leads.”

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Bible versess to consider:

And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.  Luke 23:26.

If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  Luke 9:23.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you show me what it means to be a disciple of your Son.  Too often I do not choose to be a disciple.  I do not choose to deny myself, take up what you have for me to take up, and I do not follow Jesus wherever He wants to lead.  I may choose to walk behind Him, but I do not choose to follow Him.  Please, Father, help me in making those choices so I am the disciple you intend for me to be, truly following Jesus.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in His wonderful name.  Amen.

Think on this:  Do you think there’s a difference between following Jesus and just walking behind Him?  If so, what is that difference?  How are you doing with following Jesus wherever He wants to lead, whatever the cost?  Remember that discipleship’s final step of following Him can and does come only after the first two steps.  What are they?  How are you doing with them?

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