One of the hymns I remember singing as a child was Anywhere With Jesus. You remember the familiar chorus: “Where He leads I’ll follow, follow all the way. Where He leads I’ll follow, follow Jesus every day.”
In my own mind I’ve tried to abide by these words wherever I have gone. I want to go on record as having followed Jesus to religious concerts, to a Christian university, to church camp, to lectureships, to weekend spiritual retreats, and to weekly worship services. I don’t ever recall having any reluctance whatsoever to follow Him to those places where I would be joined by others who shared my enthusiasm for being there.
Recently, I heard a song from the CD His Passion titled Yes I Will that echoed this same theme. Its chorus, however, makes me stop and think about my commitment to follow Him wherever He leads me. The chorus says “Yes, I will follow you Jesus, all the way up that hill. To the cross where the river runs, crimson even still. Yes, I will follow you Lord, I will, yes, I will.” When I reflect on this thought, I don’t feel very comfortable about where this path leads.
As I mentally make my way up that hill, I feel alone and afraid, as though something terrible is about to happen. My chest tightens, and my breathing becomes labored. As I crest the hill, I see a rough-hewn wooden cross lying on the ground before me. As I lean over that cross, I gasp in horror. Chiseled there at the top of the cross is my name. So this is what it means to follow Him up that hill. Jesus has led me to the cross to be crucified. But before the first pointed spike can be driven through my trembling flesh, before the crimson blood can mix with the salty sweat and collect in a pool at my feet, Jesus allows Himself to be nailed to “my cross” and willingly dies in my place. Jesus leads all of us to the cross. What’s important is our response to the cross once we reach that destination.
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