“Follow thou me”

We shouldn’t let our perception of other people’s faults or misdeeds prevent us from following our own Christ-guided path.

Imagine the scene: Following his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus had shown himself to his disciples on more than one occasion. But later, some of the disciples, possibly unsure what to do next, decided to go fishing (see John 21). With the help of someone whom they later recognized to be Jesus, they had made an abundant catch, and now they were all having a meal together. Then Jesus gave Peter a job to do: to feed Jesus’ sheep, his followers. Peter must have realized that this was a big assignment. Pointing at another disciple, he asked Jesus, “And what shall this man do?” Jesus simply responded, “What is that to thee? follow thou me.”

The admonition “What is that to thee? follow thou me” has been a guidepost for much of my life. I remember the moment when, as a teenager, I read that story in the Bible and felt certain that these words applied to me and my life just as much as they had to Peter. It was one of those moments when the Bible felt completely relevant to me.

My good-humored mother, a lifelong Christian Scientist, was easygoing and patient, with one notable exception. She could not abide hypocrisy. “Don’t be hypocritical,” she would sometimes say. As a child, I was often confused by what she meant, but when I later became aware of this exchange between Jesus and Peter, I realized that following Jesus’ instruction would enable me to steer clear of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and pride.

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My sanctuary
September 26, 2022

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