Luke 9:57-58 ESV
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’”
We don’t know if this someone ever did follow Jesus. We aren’t told this, as far as I know. So, what lesson can we gain from this? What is the point of Jesus’ words to this person? What was he telling him?
Well, for one, Jesus knew the person’s heart and he knows our hearts. He knew whether the person meant the words he said or not. And he knows if we mean what we say, too. And he knows beyond what we know, too. So, even if our words are sincere, he knows if we will follow him in all situations.
It is kind of like with Peter. Peter believed he would follow Jesus to the death, but Jesus knew better. He could see the future. So, he told Peter that Peter would betray Jesus three times. But Peter didn’t listen to Jesus. He thought he knew better. Do we ever think we know better?
So, headstrong Peter, who thought he knew himself better than Jesus knew him, did exactly as Jesus had predicted he would, and then the Rooster crowed, just as Jesus had said, and then Peter grieved that he had not listened to his Lord and that he had sinned against him in this way.
So, again, what’s the point of what Jesus said to this person who had said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go”? Jesus was letting him know that there is a cost to following Jesus. We may say, “Sure, I’ll follow you,” but if we don’t know the cost, we may be making a promise we can’t keep.
Especially if this promise was made based on false information, or if it was an emotional decision made at a moment of weakness or under pressure, a person might decide to move forward without really considering the cost of that decision or whether or not he/she is able to follow through with it.
And another aspect of this is if we are convinced that we can do it, i.e., that we in our own strength and willpower can do it, for we can’t. Secondly, we could be deceiving our own self thinking we can do something that no human can do of his own self.
For, the ability to follow Jesus can only come about for us if we are first persuaded of God the Father to follow Jesus, and then only as God gives us what we need so that we can follow him with our lives. For this faith is of God, not of our flesh, and it will cost us our pride, control over our own lives, and our sinful lifestyles which must be put to death. We will have to yield our lives to Christ and then be willing to go with him wherever he leads us.
Luke 9:59-60 ESV
“To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’”
In this situation, the person referred to did not make any claims about following Jesus, as the first person had, but Jesus called him to follow the Lord. Yet, he hesitated. And from what I have read on this, the feeling is that the man’s father had not yet died. He wanted to wait until after he had died, which could be years before he would then actually follow Jesus.
Usually, I think, in those types of situations the person never ends up following the Lord because he/she found an excuse to put it off, and those who do that usually put it off forever, at least from what I have read and have observed over my lifetime, but I am no expert on that subject.
But the reality of the situation is that using an excuse to get out of following Jesus shows a lack of desire to ever follow him. And the other reality is that not one of us knows if we have tomorrow. What we put off today may never become a reality in our lives for we may never get another chance.
But Jesus didn’t accept his excuse and he doesn’t accept ours, either. He doesn’t accept us vacillating between following him or following the flesh, either. He is not looking for part-time disciples. He wants:
“Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest,
and have peace and sweet rest,
as you yield Him your body and soul.”
Elisha A Hoffman
And that is why Jesus’ response to him was to let the dead (spiritually) bury their own dead. “But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Jesus can’t use us to do his kingdom work if we are half-hearted disciples, or if we have divided hearts and loyalties, or if we are double-minded and unstable in all that we do because we lack commitment to stay the course.
For, when we are called to proclaim the kingdom of God it is going to cost us friends, family, financial stability, perhaps, and reputation, and people are going to reject, hate, abandon and persecute us for our walks of faith and for our testimonies for Christ and his gospel. If we aren’t committed, we will bail at the first sign of persecution, or certainly soon after.
Luke 9:61-62 ESV
“Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”
Do we get this, really? Jesus is not the person (the second person of our triune God) most people make him out to be. He is not okay having “disciples” who have no pleasure in following him at all, or who barely even mention him or who don’t consider his will and purpose for their lives.
Jesus is serious about what he said. He wants us dead to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. He wants us free from slavery to sin so that we can be slaves of God and of his righteousness. He wants us fully surrendered to him, not riding the fence or playing games with religion.
We are not fit for the kingdom of God if we are not willing to give up our old lives to follow Jesus Christ with our lives, or if we are going to keep going back to our old ways of living while claiming him as our Savior and while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny.
Remember what we read in verses 23-26? If we hold on to our old lives (save them), we will lose our lives for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake (die with Christ to sin and self) then we have eternal life with God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if we walk according to the Spirit, we will have life eternal (Rom 8:1-17; Rom 6:1-23).
The Lord Jesus is looking for those who will follow him wherever he leads. He is looking for those who will go proclaim the kingdom of God and who won’t put their hand to the plow and then look back to what they had before. Will you hear him calling? And will you answer, “Here I am, Lord. I will go”?
Here I Am, Lord
By Daniel L. Schutte
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them –
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
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