“For even hereunto were you called—because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that you should follow His steps.”

I Peter 2:21

When He said “Follow Me,” He didn’t say what lay ahead, but He did say with Whom they would go.

“Going without knowing where you’re going.”

That’s basically what God said to Abram that day when He called him out at the age of 75-years-old to go to the Promised Land (Gen. 12:1-4; Heb. 11:8).  Truly, God’s Plan for Israel’s “Father of Faith” was “progressive revelation,” which would be revealed in increments until the coming of Christ.

Yet, even after He became God’s “last Prophet, Priest and King” (Heb. 1:1-3), Jesus’ call to His disciples (and us) was/is still an open-ended call that involves signing on the dotted line of faith and leaving the blanks up to Him.  As Job said, “God knows the way that I take” (Job 23:10a).  And, as God told Jeremiah, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord—thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11).

The Hebrew word “tiqvah” is used there for “expected” and basically means “a cord, hopeful, that which is longed for, etc;” yet, it would appear that today’s Manna is in opposition to that promise—for it talks about our following Christ down the “path of suffering.”

And, dear Pilgrim, that’s exactly what it’s talking about.

When Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23), He wasn’t pointing to a primrose path; He was pointing the way to Calvary.  He also said, “In this world you WILL have tribulation; but, be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).

Thus, we are called to “deny, die to and dedicate ourselves to Christ.”

And, it is this unyielding, unwavering allegiance to Him that will incite the wrath of those who hate Him and the Heavenly Father (Jn. 15:18-25).  Thus, we should not be surprised when such happens—for the “secret” of “knowing Christ and the power of His Resurrection” (Phil. 3:10a) is by “entering into the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death” (Phil. 3:10b).

That’s why we must learn from His Example (Mt. 11:28-30) and “follow in His steps.”  There should be “no guile (Grk. ‘dolos’—‘decoy, trick, bait, craftiness, deceit, etc.’) in our mouths” (I Pet. 2:22).  Truly, we should always talk “straight talk” (James 5:12).

And, during those times when we are “reviled (Grk. ‘loidoreo’—‘reproached, vilified, abuse, vicious mischief, etc.’), like Christ, we don’t return in kind” (v.23a); instead, we “commit (Grk. ‘paradidomi’—‘to entrust, surrender, yield to, turn over to, etc.’) ourselves to Him Who judges righteously, etc.’)”—knowing how He “bore our sins in His own Body on the Tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, being healed by His stripes” (v.23b-24).  What a Savior!  What a “Good Shepherd and Bishop (Overseer) of our souls” (v.25)!  Stay yoked to Him.  “Abide in Him” (Jn. 15:1-7).  Walk in/with Him (Rom. 8:1).

June 23, 2011