“Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord, whither goest Thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards…. Jesus saith unto him … follow thou Me” (John 13:36; 21:22).
What is it to follow Christ? It is not to live a Middle-Eastern life, nor wear a robe, nor speak in the Hebrew tongue. A man might do all these, and in addition wander like Him, homeless and outcast, and yet not follow in His steps. Following Jesus means being identified with the principles that marked His life: devotion and prayer, absolute compliance with God’s will, constant service to mankind, and the sweetness, gentleness, and strength of His personal character.
We tend to think we have strength to work and suffer for Christ long before He has truly prepared us. We rush impetuously forward, and are overwhelmed. Then our Master has to take us around by another and longer route, train us by toils and tears and teachings, until we no longer trust in our own strength, and are confident in His. There is no path into which the Lord calls us where He does not precede. When He sends out His own sheep, He goes before them, and His sheep follow (John 10:4).
If the old legend is true, Peter was crucified with his head downwards, because he felt unworthy to be so like his Lord—following Him with humility and reverence. Whatever experiences befall us in life or death, let it be our one aim to glorify God. “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).