Sunday, January 21, 2007



In the last paragraph of Luke chapter 9 Jesus articulates what the cost factor is to be a follower. Jesus offers three scenarios for us to ponder.

FIRST-A FOLLOWER MUST LIVE AS AN ALIEN—As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

As Jesus walked a whole company of people followed Him, not only the Twelve. And from time to time various people would come up alongside Him and engage Him in conversation as they were walking. A man, moved by Jesus' words and vision, says to Him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus responded that He didn’t have the comforts of a home, but was a constant pilgrim on a mission. What Jesus is saying to this “would-be” disciple is, “Are you willing to be a pilgrim—an alien—in this world, just passing through without too many entanglements? It’s a certain self-denial that is required when you are following Jesus.

SECOND-A FOLLOWER MUST BE READY TO FOLLOW NOW—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."

Think about it. If the man's father has just died, what in the world is the man doing hanging around Jesus? He should be home making funeral arrangements! It's obvious that his father isn't dead yet. He probably isn’t even seriously ill, or the man would be asking Jesus for healing. What the man is saying is this: I have responsibilities to my father as long as he lives. I'm not free to follow you right now. But when my dad dies, then I'll follow you. I just can't follow now.

This reminds me of what I have heard over the years from well-meaning people. They say, “As soon as I get victory over this habit or mature enough to have my act together, then I’ll get involved in following Jesus.” My answer, “We don’t have that much time to wait for you to get your act together. Begin now!”

By the way, NOTE what Jesus was telling him to do for Him. He wanted Him to proclaim the kingdom of God. He is not asking him to get involved in a local church or to tell anyone about his church. He isn’t telling him to go out a start a new church or go into the world as a missionary. He wants him to proclaim the kingdom of God to others. We’ll connect on this message later.

THIRD-A FOLLOWER MUST BE SINGLE-MINDED—Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

All the man wanted to do was go home and say good-bye. That's all. What's so wrong with that? In light of the immediate mission ahead—the sending out of the Seventy to the villages of Judea—for the man to go home will mean that he will miss out, though his request seems reasonable enough. Jesus clarifies His point when He speaks of plowing a field. You never try to plow while looking over your shoulder. If you do, your rows are crooked and your field is difficult to work. If you try to plow while looking back, you're not fit to be in the field. You'd be fired in a hurry by the farmer. Rather, plowmen fix their eyes on a point at the far end of the field and move steadily toward it, not veering to the right side or to the left.
There’s no time for long good-bye’s or bon voyage parties. It’s time to focus on the ultimate purpose of the mission.

Each of these excuses for not immediately following Jesus is reasonable. But here’s the point. It is time to take hold of the plow. It is time to put kingdom business ahead of worldly business. Following Jesus may be difficult. It may make your life a little less comfortable, but I can assure you that nothing on this earth is more fulfilling, more joy producing, than being a follower of Jesus. And, Jesus accepts nothing less than your all! Are you a follower of Jesus or are you still throwing out excuses?