Jesus invites every student to follow Him. If students of Jesus are expected to follow Jesus, then He must be leading, right? But how?
As our Teacher, Jesus is leading us when we follow His example. We seek to pattern our lives to His attitudes, actions and teachings. Gradually we become more like Him as the Holy Spirit works to change us into His likeness.
Although becoming more like the Teacher is not easy, at least the process seems to be straightforward. We study and meditate on the life of Jesus for direction in transformation of heart and character.
However, for day-to-day direction there is more ambiguity. We often struggle with indecision and pray about what course of action would most please Jesus. This way or that?
Here we find Paul and his companions facing exactly that kind of situation. They wonder where Jesus wants them to go next in their missionary journey.
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
We are not told how Jesus prevented them from going into Bithynia. It could have been by direct communication. However, it may have been through circumstances that created obstacles which they rightly interpreted as Jesus’ desire to lead in another direction. But which way?
During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
Was this just a dream? Under the circumstances Paul interpreted it as Jesus’ leading. The text says that Paul came to a conclusion that God was calling him into Macedonia. If so, then the leading of Jesus sometimes involves our own best conclusions based on all the circumstances.
Now the Good News will go into Europe for the first time! And all because these students of Jesus were focused on the leading of Jesus!