“The Shocking Truth About Following Jesus”
At the end of Luke 9, we find a story about three men who approached Jesus, eager to follow him. In surprising fashion, though, Jesus seems to have tried to talk them out of doing so.
The first guy said, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus responded, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” In other words, Jesus told this man that he could expect homelessness on the journey ahead. Followers of Christ are not guaranteed that even their basic need of shelter will be met.
The second man told Jesus that his father had just died. The man wanted to go back, bury his father, and then follow Jesus.
Jesus replied, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” I remember distinctly when my own dad died, and I cannot imagine hearing these words from Jesus.
A third man approached Jesus and told him that he wanted to follow him, but before he did, he wanted to say good-bye to his family.
Jesus wouldn’t let him. He told the man, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Plainly put, a relationship with Jesus requires total, superior, and exclusive devotion.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these would-be followers of Jesus in the first century. What if I were the potential disciple being told to become homeless? What if you were the one who was supposed to let someone else bury your dad? What if we were told that we couldn’t even say good-bye to our families?
This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that supersedes our closest relationships in this world. For that’s what it means to live out the biblical gospel rather than our cultural assumptions of what it means to follow Jesus.
Let us determine not to spend our lives on anything but radical abandonment to our Savior.
What should you cut out of your life, starting today, if Jesus is your overriding priority?