As a follower of Jesus, it would only make sense that I go in the same direction He is. Have you ever stopped to wonder where exactly that is? Have you ever asked, where is God leading me? I certainly have. Some of the specifics can vary for each person, no doubt about that. But there are consistencies for all of us following the Leader.
Do you know which direction Jesus is going? That might seem like a silly question. It may not even make sense to you. So allow me to explain. Jesus is not dead. I know that’s not a breaking news headline. Yes, He was crucified, and buried in a tomb, but as the story goes, He did not stay there. He is alive, and will remain that way forever. I gave that little gospel refresher so that I can say this: we aren’t following a figure of the past. We are actively following a person who is actively leading. We aren’t emulating a dead hero. We are pursuing a trailblazing Savior.
Let’s look at where He went in the past so we can know where He is still going today.
1- To Church
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.”
Luke 4:16 ESV
I know what you may be thinking: this is a lecture that we all need to be in church if we’re Christians. You’re right…it is. The synagogues were the churches of the day. But church is more than just a building. Church is the gathering of believers. Why is it so important to be in community? Because there is power in numbers! Praying power, encouraging power, financial power, learning power, and so much more. Where is Jesus going? He’s going to be wih His people and so should we.
2- Beyond His borders
“but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.””
Luke 4:43 ESV
Jesus didn’t stay put. He moved all over the region. He was active in spreading the message to the most amount of people. He didn’t stay pint up in a cozy home after a day of work. He didn’t stay solely within the four walls of church. Jesus was and is on the move. He going to every nation and every group of people. His Spirit has no borders.
3- To the Unclean
“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.”
Luke 17:11-16 ESV
They had two strikes against them in the eyes of society: they were lepers, and they were Samaritans. Both of those things would have made them unclean in the sight of others. Our world is full of ‘unclean’ and outcast people. It’s important for us to remember that we are one of them apart from Christ. We might as well put ourselves in the place of the lepers in this story because that is exactly how we were before Him. His mercy on us is our only hope just as it is for all those who remain shunned by the world.
4- To the Hated
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
Luke 19:1-5 ESV
The tax collectors were among the most despised of Jesus’ time because they worked for the evil occupiers of the region (the Roman Empire) and often times exploited the people and took more than what they were supposed to. But Jesus didn’t hate them. Jesus doesn’t hate anyone! On top of going to Zacchaeus’ home, He also called Matthew, another tax collector, as one of His disciples. Jesus didn’t minister to the favorable. He didn’t just go to those who were safe. Jesus even went to those who society either didn’t think would ever be saved, or who society didn’t want to be saved.
5- To Seclusion to Pray
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Jesus never neglected the act of praying. Without prayer, we can’t remain connected to our power source. Prayer is the cord that plugs us into the power inlet. That’s why we’re told to never cease praying, and sometimes that means getting alone, away from the distractions. Jesus wants to draw us into these secluded places for a refreshing.
Jesus is alive and active. He is going far more places and to far more people than just these. His Spirit is both in us, and moving throughout the entire world. Are you willing to follow? Am I?
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.