During His earthly ministry, Jesus repeatedly confronted people with a challenge to come follow Him.  And some of His first disciples did that in a very literal sense.  They quit their jobs, they left their homes, and they followed Jesus where He went.  Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen.  They left their boats and nets and went after Jesus.  Matthew was a tax collector.  He walked out of his office, closed the door behind him, and went after Jesus. 

                But what about you and me?  Does the call to follow Jesus apply to us?  Can we follow Jesus today?

                If, by that, we mean leaving our homes, quitting our jobs, travelling from place to place, then the obvious answer is “no”.  Jesus never intended His followers to be exact replicas of Him.  But if by following Jesus we mean receiving and reproducing the Christ-like spirit, then the answer is “yes”.  In this sense, we can follow Jesus today and every day, wherever we may be. 

                If we take a broad look at His life, two things will stand out above the rest.  The first is His utter dependence upon God.  To Jesus, God was more than just a word.  He was a living presence, a wise counselor, a source of strength, and a constant companion.  The one to whom He always turned was God.

                With Jesus, prayer was the most natural thing in the world.  He was so sure of the nearness, love and power or His heavenly Father that He spontaneously talked with Him about everything.  He prayed at His baptism.  He prayed during His wilderness temptation.  He prayed before choosing His twelve apostles.  He prayed when His heart was glad and grateful.  He prayed when His heart was heavy with sorrow.

                The life of Jesus is incomprehensible without the recognition of His utter dependence upon God.  Can we reproduce that same spirit in our lives today?  Not with the perfection that Jesus lived it, but we can follow His lead.  We can and should become more aware of the presence of God.  We can learn to depend upon Him more than we do now.  It would be a liberating experience for all of us to realize that prayer involves a learning process.  We can start where we are.  And day by day, we can learn to talk with God, to listen to Him and depend on Him.

                One other characteristic that stands out above the rest is His willingness to sacrifice and even to suffer for the things in which He truly believed.  All around Him, people were hurting.  And He would not stand apart from their pain.  Their hunger was His hunger.  Their sorrow was His sorrow.  An injustice done to anyone was an injustice done to Him. 

                You and I, no less than Jesus, live in a deeply troubled world.  We can try to ignore this tragic truth, pretending it has nothing to do with us.  Or, we can get involved in it.  We can feel the pain of others.  Every day in some small way, we can lift a part of the load from some tired back or some tired mind.  In this real and practiced way, we answer the call of Jesus to come and follow Him.