“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.” Mark 4:35-36
It was camp meeting. I was 16 and it was the summer of 1985. It was Sabbath and we were only there for the day. I was hanging out with friends; we were talking and laughing like the teenagers we were and in the middle of everything we were joined by a 10 year old boy, I’ll call him Bobby. We hadn’t invited him. To be honest, I think we all found his presence to be an intrusion but we didn’t want to be unkind so we didn’t ask him to leave.
After a while we left the picnic table we’d been sitting around and began to walk around the campground. The Bobby continued to follow us for a while. At some point he had to leave to find his parents and it was then that my friends told me that while we were walking Bobby had been copying everything I’d been doing: the way I walked, the way I would stand, and some of the gestures I’d make. I was unaware, but someone was specifically following me.
Sometimes I find it helpful to think of the world as being filled with two types of people: leaders and followers. One of the important things to realize when thinking this way is that as followers we need someone to lead. We’re looking for a leader. But it’s not always clear cut as to whether people are leaders or followers. While we may know ourselves to be followers someone else may at the same time be looking to follow us.
In our focus text, Jesus wasn’t thinking about those that were following him. He was exhausted after a long day of teaching and healing and now he needed to sleep. Mark records that that’s just what he did. He curled up in the back of the boat, nestled his head on a pillow, and it was lights out. Unbeknownst to him, other little boats were pushing of into the lake so they could follow him.
We may be unaware that people are following us. We may not want people to follow us. The thought of being responsible for where we are leading people may be frightening to us. But it doesn’t have to be. Remember, the important thing isn’t where you’re leading it’s who you’re following. If you’re following Jesus then it’s safe for others to follow you.