I’ve noticed a common thread in the Gospels lately. It seems that each time I read from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John I see the word “follow.” Jesus invited fishermen to follow him. He invited tax collectors to follow him. Crowds of people followed Jesus, even without specific invitations.
Many people followed Jesus wherever he went. There were so many of them that he was often crowded and even taught from boats on a few occasions! The “followers” likely wanted to be healed, or to hear this one who preached with authority (Mark 1:22). Whatever the reason, Jesus was a leader and he was followed by many.
This reminds me of a popular childhood game called Follow the Leader. The object of the game is to do whatever the leader does. If she marches, you march. If she runs, you run. If she kneels, you kneel.
Set aside some time to talk with your child about how Jesus was a leader and how he had many followers. Assess your child’s knowledge of the kinds of things Jesus did. (He was kind to people that were not liked. He healed people that no one would even touch. He ate meals with those who were left out. He spoke about God’s kingdom, and he was not ashamed of his message.) If Jesus was the leader, and if he had followers, then what kinds of things should the followers have done? (They should have done the same kinds of things that Jesus did.)
Play a game of Follow the Leader with your child. Play for as long as your child is interested. At the close of the game, remind your child that as Christians, we are followers of Jesus and his message. To follow him, we must know the kinds of things that he did. In order to learn about those things, we must read the Bible and go to church. We must also pray that our leader will tell us where to go and what to do.
As adults, we know that Jesus’ message was not a promise of a life without trouble. His path included dealing with people who did not like him, with friends who did not always stand beside him, with temptation, and it ended in death. As Christians, we must follow our leader. This will not be an easy road, but the reward is eternal.