“Let’s play, ‘Follow the leader’, says a 5 year old in the school playground. She weaves in and out of other children, taking a haphazard route that leads nowhere in particular . . . In his teens, a lad follows a gang leader into trouble . . . A family outing sees Mum leading a woodland walk. She misreads the map and the family lose their way, ending up tired, grumpy and declaring that they’ll never go for another country stroll – ever.
Human leaders, though trying their best, can be fallible – leading nowhere, or into trouble, or round in circles. Human followers can be fickle and in the end they make choices: to rebel, to turn away disillusioned, to seek leadership elsewhere, or to muddle through – trusting nobody but themselves.
A crowd of people hear a man speak. His words and actions compel them to follow him – until he says something so outrageous that many turn against him and look for leadership elsewhere. “Do you want to leave too?” the man asks the faithful few who are still with him. “To whom would we go?” asks one of them, a man called Peter. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else who could ever match this leader – Jesus Christ.
Peter answers his own question, “You have the words that give eternal life.” Why else would Jesus have had followers for centuries? We live in God’s world with its human messes and stresses, flawed leaders and fickle followers. Jesus, God’s son, in his role as Saviour, offers strength for today, hope for tomorrow and eternal life that puts this current earthly life into new perspective. All we have to do is follow.