Following Jesus

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readOct 3, 2019

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Is it only about what you believe about Jesus? Or is it more? Like how you act? What you support? How you interact with others?

Scripture has many references to what Jesus calls his followers to do if they are to consider themselves his disciples.

We hear Jesus tell his follower to love one another, to pray for their enemies, to feed the hungry, to care for the sick, to welcome the stranger, to visit the imprisoned. Followers of Jesus are to show mercy, to forgive, to love justice, and to end injustice. Followers of Jesus are to walk with and eat with the oppressed and exploited.

These aren’t just personal actions though. They have a public implication. They impact others’ lives and still others can see what the actions are and what kind of impact they make.

In other words, if faith doesn’t have a public implication, it’s rather empty.

And those implications should impact our politics and policies. They should impact our politicians and regulators too. They should impact how we do business and run organizations. They should impact how we do stewardship of the planet and of our bodies. They should impact how we treat others — both those what are friends of ours, those that are enemies, and those we don’t know. They should impact life. Otherwise, why are we wasting everyone’s time, including your own, thinking we are following Jesus, when all you are doing is pretending to do the bare minimum?

I continue to read The Politics of Jesus, by Obery Hendricks, Jr. In the section I read most recently, there is a discussion on the influence of the Hebrew bible and justice on Jesus.

Mishpat is usually translated as ‘justice.’ Biblical justice is he establishment or restoration of fair, equitable, and harmonious relationships in society. The major implication of its meaning is that any member of the community has the same rights as any other, that everyone has the same inalienable right to abundance and wholeness and freedom from oppression.” (Pg. 43)

Sadigah is usually translated as ‘righteousness.’ Study of the uses of sadigah and its related terms reveals that its focus is on behavior that fulfills the responsibilities of relationship, whether with God or other persons. In other words, when people fulfill their relationship with God through obedience and observance of biblical ordinances and…with humanity, too, then they are…

Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.