For many years I have been drawn to Thomas a Kempis' "Imitation of Christ." It has seemed to me for as long as I can remember that for me following Christ meant to do as he did as far as possible.
I think when Jesus said "follow me," he was not just talking about traipsing around Galilee, he was talking about a deeper thing. He was, of course, talking to the people where he lived so that the vast majority were Jews with a smathering of Romans and maybe a few others. But I am convinced he meant to tell all who would listen to follow his teachings, to do as he did, to follow his example, to become like him and they too would know God and therefore be a healing, lifting presence on earth.
Jesus, Joshua ben Joseph, was the name, Christ was the title which basically means "the anointed." It seems to me that there is little mention of Jesus' early years, except in some spurious and much later writings, because he was developing into the person who would be Christed. His long meditations in the desert, his walks in the hills, his study of the ancient scriptures, his journey in general led to the point where God burst through and he was Christed and on fire with the Lord. At that point, the aching in his heart for others to awaken to the deep spiritual realities filled his poignant invitation - follow me.
When I read George Lamsa's little book on the idioms in the Bible. I was astounded at the things that are idiomatic in the Bible, but are taken literally today. You might want to read it. One of the big things for me was that eating my body and drinking my blood was an idiom for following and being devoted to the one saying this.
This morning I was thinking about following and my journey to be as loving, forgiving, lifting, healing and light-filled as possible and not let circumstances constrict me from following Christ. And as I thought on this, the idiom came to mind, and I thought that even near the end, knowing the end of the earthly journey was near, he asked his most intimate followers to follow him even more deeply by committing to be like him by taking his very being on. At that point it was certain he did not mean by walking around and literally following him over hill and dale. It meant taking on his very being.
So I challenge myself again this morning, and I challenge you, hear the call, follow Christ deeply and fully and walk the journey to be Christed.