The disciples followed a physical literal Person and His Name was Jesus Christ. They were defined by that leader and they felt a need to follow Him. They saw Him as the Only One who could heal, had power to drive out demons and was very unique and different from other rabbis.
Yes, they too initially followed Him due to His miracles eg: providing bread for 1000's. Some followed Him with great expectations of sitting at his right and left when He formed His Government . Some would use Him as the weapon of a new revolution to come. However Jesus was none of that but so much more !!
The Lord Jesus asked at one point," why do you all follow Me? " What is your motivation and need? JOHN 6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
The Holy Spirit today abides within us. A physical Jesus is now within- spiritual, invisible, abstract. If disciples were defined by the need to follow and be led by a Leader, do I have the need for the Holy Spirit? Do I wish to be led by Him or am I just forced into accepting Holy Spirit within me as a helpless marriage?
The world runs after ideas, beliefs, gurus and ashrams however is Jesus more than an idea? Is He worth running to? Is His Spirit valued in our lives? Why do I need Him? Is there something He has that I dont have? Is He able to crush demons and goliaths which we can;'t? What is your need to follow this Spirit who is on the inside of you?
Put another way if the literal Jesus as a Person appeared before us or if we were transported back to the 1st century would we follow Him? Was there anything in Him that we found amazing? Thrilling? Would we leave the world to go after Him? JOHN 12: 19 Then the Pharisees said to one another, “You can see that this is doing you no good.Look how the whole world has gone after Him!”
Is it worth investing in Him ? Is the Holy Spirit truly our Companion and Need? If we sensed something different in Jesus Christ yes we will go after Him - heart, soul and mind. Even if the world pulls us continually apart attempting to tear us from Him, we will fight our way back to the One who alone is worth dying for !