“Lord, I will follow thee” (Luke 9:57). Once as Jesus
was traveling to Jerusalem, three men voiced their feelings as to a wish
to follow him. Jesus did not decline their offer, but he stated facts
which may have caused them to reflect on their statement. Sadly enough
today, these same simple facts exist as disguises behind which many hide
from the true work of a disciple.
Thou Goest, I Will Go
To one certain man Jesus says, “Foxes have holes, birds
. . . nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).
No excuse, just a plain fact: Jesus, after his mission on earth began,
had no earthly home to call his own, yet truly the whole of earth was his!
He was here to teach and save the people, not to have a home to
come to at the close of his day. An earthly home cannot be the most
important thing to one who will follow after Jesus. His thoughts
are to be centered on preaching the Word.
To another who wanted to be his disciple, but needed time
to first go and bury his father, Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead,
but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61). Even family
matters must be placed second after the choice is made to follow after
God. Jesus said go, preach the kingdom of God, don’t wait on a family
member to die and be buried! Personal affairs cannot be an excuse
for the action taken when a choice is made to serve the Lord.
Another said he too would follow the Lord, “but let me
go bid them farewell which are at home at my house” (Luke 9:61).
Jesus had this to say, “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking
back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Family must not
be used as an excuse. Given time to look back into the ways of the
world will not make a Christian more Christian! About face and keep
on marching once the choice is made to go!
Impulsive candidates usually do not count the cost.
Jesus did not reject them; he just pointed clearly to the trials to be
expected by those who wished to follow him. If they did turn away,
they could only blame themselves. Again, Jesus makes room for choices
to be made. A disciple of Christ must fit the pattern, the one blueprinted
and signed by God then stamped in approval by the Master Builder,
Christ, his Son! Jesus accepts only those bearing this signature.
Was Jesus asking for those three men to get their priorities
in line? Of course he was! Their first obligation would be
to live for Christ and be obedient to him. Go preach the word!
It can be done. The first twelve disciples performed as servants
wherever they were needed, going about from place to place preaching the
good news, willing to follow Jesus daily regardless of other personal
affairs. The servant is to be willing to give first place to the
wishes of the Master for no other reason than it is a reasonable duty to
please that Master! The attitude of servanthood and the hardships
encountered should not frighten the prospective disciple of Christ.
It is an incentive to do great things.
“And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or to return
from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people will be my people, and thy God my
God” (Ruth 2:16). Now Ruth was willing to go and to follow after
Naomi and her God, not fearing for herself and certainly having her priorities
straight. Whatever Naomi would do, Ruth would do also. Even
to the choice of God!
“And he said to them all, if any will come after me, let
him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For
whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his
life for my sake, the same will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). To save
one’s own life seems to be the paramount thought here, but to do this one
must follow after the Christ daily taking up his own cross. This
was what Jesus was saying to those three men. Take up your
cross and follow after me and I will give you life. This can still
be heard today. Jesus offers nothing short of life everlasting if
we follow him and do his will. We could live and gain many possessions
and have great advantages (excuses for living in this world), yet on that
last day have nothing—a big fat zero—zilch, if we in turn have
not followed after Christ.
“For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself, or be cast away” (Luke 9:25). It will be too late
to cry on the last day, “Lord withersoever thou goest, I will go!”