Following Jesus in a Stranger Danger World


Today at church we read from Matthew 2 about Jesus calling the tax collector named Levi son of Alphaeus. I actually went to the first and second service today, so I heard this twice. On second reading, I got thinking about doing a children’s story on the reading.

First, I thought I might just go up to the kids in the pews with their parents and say, Follow me.” In my own church, this wouldn’t help to make my point about how amazing it was that he did follow Jesus because the kids all know me and likely would be quick to follow me. They might stop at the door if I tried to lead them out or off the property.

My next thought was to suggest a number of scenarios with a stranger asking them to follow. Maybe a person coming up to them at the park, or at school. I might describe them as dressed in different types of things, black masked with dark clothes, a person all dressed up, a person in jeans and at shirt. Though they may be more inclined to go with someone in a police or fire department uniform, I realized that, perhaps more than ever, the kids would likely say no to anybody new who suggested they leave what they are doing and go along with them.

But in both Mark 1 and 2 there are stories of Jesus walking past people and just calling them to follow him…and they did! Fishermen followed, leaving their nets, boats, and families with seemingly not a second thought. Perhaps this seems less likely with a busy tax collector, both because of his activity, and because he would have be considered persona-non-gratis amongst the Jews of the time. Did he not wonder, “Can he be talking to me? I am a great sinner!”?

Jesus is still out there calling us to him, children and adults alike. The question that comes to my mind is, in such a troubled world in which we see daily footage of violence, kidnappings, and accidents, is it even less likely that we would pick up and follow without question? As a Christian, I would like to think that I would hop right up, but then maybe not.

Have you followed? What made you follow? Did you keep following? Do you think people would be likely to follow you to God?

2 responses to “Following Jesus in a Stranger Danger World

  1. Now, THAT is something to think about! Following a stranger in this day and age…..would I? Wouldn’t I want to see credentials? To “follow” a stranger means what? To go where they lead? Man. No, I don’t know that I would. So I think that in Jesus’ case, did the Holy Spirit compel these men to follow Him? After he had been traveling around and had healed many folks, then I think people (including many women) followed because they were hungry for His compassion. His touch. His love. And they just……left everything. No. I’m thinking that is truly hard. We have such agendas and boundaries and worldly priorities. Oh, Jesus, forgive me! Help me let go of it all and follow. Completely. Well said, my Believing blogger friend! Continue challenging us to think!

    • I’m glad you took the time to answer. I don’t usually ask direct questions in my posts, but it is nice to hear other people’s thoughts. I do believe it is the Holy Spirit that compels us, if we are listening.

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