Today is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy by Allied forces in World War 2. Thousands of men landed on the beaches of France in an effort to push back German forces and liberate France and eventually the rest of Europe. Each man who leaped out of a Higgins Boat that day had a major objective besides just trying to stay alive. The objective was to assault the German position high above the beach. Each man was not operating alone in this objective. Each unit had leadership in the form of Sergeants, 2nd Lieutenants and so on up the chain of command. The only way to accomplish the objective was to operate as a unit, each man following the commands of his officer, who in turn were following the commands of their officer all the way up the chain of command to General Eisenhower.
In any command structure, those in charge give the orders and the orders are obeyed. They have authority granted to them by a higher authority. A private does what a sergeant says because there is an officer above the sergeant ready to enforce that command. This command structure matters because in some cases during WW2, particularly at the D-Day invasion, units became separated from each other and in the aftermath, individuals and small groups of soldiers would attach themselves to other units and submit themselves to those commanding officers until they could be reunited with their original unit. They obeyed those officers because of their rank and authority.
Jesus asks an important question of his disciples. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answers correctly with "You are the Christ (Messiah), the son of God." Peter recognized Jesus' authority. In the book of Mark, where we have been studying on Sundays, we see the author attempting to show is how Jesus is in authority. He overcomes temptation, he heals and in the middle of chapter 1 he calls his disciples to follow and they come without hesitation. Jesus has rank and authority. He calls us to follow and obey. The church has one commander, Jesus, and things work so much better when everyone is following him. We all get sidetracked at times, separated for a season from the people around us and we begin to follow other people and things. But they don't possess the authority of Jesus. Who are you following today?