And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Matthew 4:19 (KJV)
Follow me – The words used by Yeshua to select his disciples seem so simple, don’t they? Just follow Him. He’s heading to the kingdom, so I’ll head that way too. But while focusing our attention on the end goal, some of us might forget about what’s happening here and now – our daily walk. Upon accepting the invitation of “follow me”, the disciple was to conform his life to become like the Rabbi in every way.
First, the Rabbi would not pick just anyone. The Rabbi would pick only those who had the greatest potential and commitment to this endeavor. He was selecting a disciple, a talmid in Hebrew, who would ultimately replace his presence when he was gone. This coincides with our time here on earth. We are to be the representation of Yeshua while He is away. When people look at us, they should see our Rabbi – Yeshua.
Second, the talmid was expected to follow their Rabbi constantly. By following, the talmid would often walk immediately behind the Rabbi with no clear idea of where they were going, but in complete trust that everywhere the Rabbi would take them would be for the benefit of the talmid. The dust that the Rabbi would kick up would fall on the feet of the talmid. Likewise, Yeshua is leading us through a journey. This journey will have joy, sorrow, and difficulties, but all is for our benefit. It is a learning process, a refining process, and every occasion is for us to realize the wisdom and guidance of our Rabbi.
Third, the talmid was to live by, and carry out, the Rabbi’s teachings . In this, the talmid would listen to the instruction, ask questions, and dedicate themselves to memorizing what the Rabbi said. The talmid didn’t rely on concordances, iPhones, or Google. He relied on the voice of his Rabbi and committed everything that was taught to memory. Anxiously we should be listening for the voice of Yeshua to speak to us. Studying the Word of God in detail and memorizing what we can so that we can boldly say in response to questions, “My Rabbi says this…” or “My Teacher, Yeshua, says this…”
And finally, the talmid would imitate the actions of the Rabbi. How the Rabbi moved, how he walked, how he spoke, his gestures, everything would be mimicked. Not only the character actions of the Rabbi, but his outward actions in the world would also be mimicked. The talmid would watch how the Rabbi would react to strangers, to the poor, to his own brothers, and even to his enemies. And again, we copy those actions of our Rabbi. He welcomed strangers, gave to the poor, instructed and educated his brothers, and even blessed his enemies.
As we see there is much more to the words, “follow me” than we might have perceived. In fact the Greek requires two words to get this message out – deute and opisō. Deute is the instruction to “come here” while opisō finishes the thought with “behind or after”. In an amusement park way, Yeshua is telling His disciples to “Sit down and buckle up. The journey will be bumpy, crazy at times, and even fast, but follow me.” So if your focus truly is on Yeshua, and He is your goal, then are you following Him, learning and memorizing His teachings, and imitating His actions in the world?