Luke 9: 57-62 “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
One boasting of his intention to follow. The second needing to make his father’s funeral arrangements before he followed. The third wanted to go back to say his farewells to his family back home.
Jesus could have been a lot more lenient. His responses seem somewhat unfair. But remember Jesus could see the motives and attitudes of the hearts of man. He could see right through their statements. He knew what they were thinking. Therefore, not only was there something wrong with what these men said, there would appear to be something even more wrong with their hearts. Looking at the responses of Jesus, let me suggest this is what Jesus was saying:
- This is no pleasure trip. I am not the Saviour that you think I am. Do you know where I am going? I am headed to Jerusalem? It will cost me everything and you say you will follow but I know you are not ready to pay the cost.
- The dead do not come first, the message of life is first. I need you to put me first but before you have taken a step you are talking of others as first. You are not ready to follow me. Let those others of your life who are dead, spiritually dead to who I am, let them be the ones who take care of the physically dead, otherwise you too will be known as spiritually dead, understanding who I am but not willing to follow just yet.
- The living do not come first, don’t make them the excuse. Following me is like ploughing a field. Once you start you cannot veer off in different directions or turn back. If I am Lord then I must be Lord of your life continually without any breaks.
There is no understanding to personal situations. You cannot sugar coat this. It is radical discipleship.
If anyone of us had suggested such things, if the Church’s response to what seemed like positive responses to Jesus were these then that Church would have been rejected and slandered all over town. I guess just like Jesus was when he was rejected and slandered!
If Jesus is first then nothing else can be first.
Some discipleship today looks rather weak.
If we, others, situations or circumstances come first then Jesus is not in the position he should be for there to be true discipleship.
Make Jesus first today.