A Passage To Ponder: Luke 9:57-62

Martin Luther is reputed to have once said, “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.”

Or as Tennessee preacher, Greg Nance expressed it, “We need to ask ourselves, am I just tagging along or truly following Jesus?

The essence of discipleship is following Jesus. It calls for commitment. Requires dedication. Demands loyalty. And is a daily endeavor. Discipleship is not an event. It’s a process

Today’s Bible reading in Luke 9: 57-62 records the short account of three men and their attitudes about following Jesus. Their responses vividly remind us of three roadblocks on the road of discipleship.

#1 The Uncounted Cost.

The first man approached Jesus and seemingly volunteered “And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “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 nowhere to lay His head.”

Apparently, Jesus’ reply discouraged him from joining the band of disciples. This man was unwilling to count the cost, pay the price and make the necessary commitment.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right when he wrote, “ Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”

#2 The Unburied Corpse. 

Jesus approached the second man and said, “Follow Me.”

But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

Jesus’ retort on the surface seemed unkind and uncaring when he said to him. “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

The text didn’t say his father had died. If he had already died, would he not be making funeral arrangements? Or attending a wake? Or participating in a funeral procession.

Maybe he was wanting to stay home until his father died. There was an old Eastern proverb that said, “When I have buried my father I will do so-and-so.” Very possibly this was a ruse and an excuse on his part.

Jesus is saying “Let those who are spiritually dead tend to burying the physically dead.”

Like the man in the text, some claim an interest in following Jesus, but are preoccupied with the “corpses of this world.” With physical matters. Material interests. Worldly affairs. And use those who excuse themselves from dedicated discipleship.

#3 The Unforsaken Circle. 

The third man in the narrative also expressed interest in following Jesus with this caveat. “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Following Jesus demands severing relationships that will impede our progress or hinder our Christian walk. Commitment to discipleship must come even before our family relationships.

Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 19:37-39).

These accounts remind us that following Jesus is not something that is considered casually or entered into at our own convenience. Discipleship is not always easy, comfortable, or painless.

Following Jesus is a journey of faith. Sometimes the road is bumpy. The way is winding. The climb may be steep and treacherous.

Too often the evangelical world has tried to portray following Jesus as something “cool,” with colorful T-shirts, catchy slogans, and sparkling jewelry. The very opposite is true.

Jesus told the apostles that just like the world hated him, it would hate them too. And so, Paul would say, “We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Cor. 4:13).

When we follow Jesus, stand for Truth, and repudiate error and immorality, the world calls us “bigoted.” “Narrow-minded.” “Homophobic.” “Unloving.” “Legalistic.” And pejoratively labels us as a bunch of old-fashioned, outdated, “Bible thumpers.”

As Eliza Hewitt asks in her famous hymn:

Who will follow Jesus,
Standing for the Right?

Who will follow Jesus,
In life’s busy ways?

Who will follow Jesus
When the temper charms?

Who will follow Jesus,
In His work of love?

Who will follow Jesus
Who will make reply,
“I am on the Lord’s side;
Master, here am I”?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Passage To Ponder

2 responses to “A Passage To Ponder: Luke 9:57-62

  1. Pingback: A Passage To Ponder: Luke 9:57-62 | A disciple's study

  2. Pingback: Weekly Recap: March 21-26 | ThePreachersWord

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