Ministry Resources

Following in Jesus’ Footsteps

Author: Bob Young

I reflected and remembered former days as Ken Short described his childhood experiences:

Trying to follow his father through the drifted snow, carefully trying to walk in the exact footsteps, but sometimes failing because his legs were too short and his father’s strides were too long.

It is not easy to follow exactly in another’s footsteps. When we lived in Michigan, our sons helped with chores. Sometimes we would go together, and if there had been a deep snow, my boys would ask me to take shorter steps so they could step in the exact place I had walked. Often their request came because the snow was so deep that it would be over the tops of their boots if they could not walk in my steps. In fact, we have some paths that we cleared with a shovel were the snow on each side is higher than the boys were tall. As they got older, we made paths in the snow by dragging our feet-a path to the doghouse, a path to the trash barrel, a path to the mailbox, a path to the woodpile.

We Need a Trailblazer

In the spiritual life, we need someone to blaze the trail for us, someone to go ahead of us. This concept is used by the writer of Hebrews to describe Jesus (2:10). He is the pre-cutter, the trailblazer. A trailblazer leaves us a path and removes the obstacles. Just as my boys needed someone to clear a path in the deep snow so they could get through, we are blessed to have someone who has traveled the path before us so we can get through.

Only Jesus knows how to get where we are trying to go

Peter reminds us that Jesus left us a path to follow (2 Pet. 2:21), but we often have difficulty walking in his footsteps. Jesus says, Follow me. But it is not easy to follow Jesus, and some days I do not feel like following Jesus. Why follow Jesus? Because only Jesus knows the way to the Father! Only Jesus knows how to get where we are trying to go. Only Jesus has been down the path before.

Jesus wants to establish a relationship with us so he can help us get to the Father. He wants what is best for us, he wants us to grow so we can walk in his steps; he wants us to mature. He wants us to have a relationship of trust and dependence on him, so that we do not question his leading when the way is not clear. He wants us to have faith in him so we will not falter when the way is hard. He left us a path. Discipleship includes following Jesus. Discipleship is learners imitating the master teacher.

© 2016, Robert J. Young, All rights reserved.

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