Luke 9:57 – … Lord, I will follow thee…
Many were attracted to Jesus and desired to follow him. Jesus masterfully revealed to his would-be followers that a deep sense of commitment was vital in order to be a disciple. He exposed both their motives as well as the realities of becoming a follower. The passage presents three potential disciples. Each one expressed interest in following, but each one had something holding him back. They were all faced with a decision as Jesus revealed the practicalities of discipleship.
The first candidate expressed his interest in joining Jesus on the journey, but Jesus quickly informed him that they lacked basic necessities (9:57-58). All of his followers had given up their home for a wayfaring lifestyle. There was no place to call home. Creature comforts were not available. Adaptability was essential. Such a lifestyle reminds me of military service. The question, “Where are you from?” is hard to answer given the frequent moves across the country and the world, not to mention the various locations of service from desks to deserts. Flexibility is not just helpful; it’s vital! Such is the life of a follower of Jesus. If you are not willing to make sacrifices and adapt to challenging circumstances then you will not last long as his follower.
The second hopeful made a request to remain with his family until his father’s death (9:59-60). There are good reasons for doing so, such as fulfilling a necessary family role or receiving a customary inheritance. Nevertheless, Jesus pressed upon the requestor a dire sense of urgency. The proclamation of the gospel was so important that it could not wait. For the man to leave would have been scandalous, but following Jesus required a radical commitment that was often counter-cultural. There are people who turn away from Christ and church for all sorts of reasons: sporting events, family time, and overtime hours – you name it. They lack an understanding that the gospel is urgent and that this life is fleeting. If you are waiting to follow Jesus because of an arbitrary family commitment or the aspiration of stability then you have missed the truth that there are more important activities in life. If you are finding excuses now then you will likely find any excuse to delay your commitment to Christ.
The third aspirant wished to say good-bye to his family (9:61-62). Seems simple enough. After all, even Elijah allowed Elisha to do so (1 Kings 19:19-20). However, Jesus is greater than Elijah and had a message of greater importance. Neither the message nor the Messiah should wait. A disciple cannot have divided interests. A farmer who looked back had no hope of plowing a straight furrow. A disciple that cannot make up his mind about who to follow has no chance of accomplishing anything for God. Are you going to join Jesus and serve God or are you going to let distractions get the best of you? The time has come to make up your mind.
A disciple readily recognizes the urgency and importance of the gospel and is willing to adapt to any circumstance to join Jesus in his mission. Are you this type of disciple? Disciples are people who adapt, commit, and engage (remember “A.C.E.”). They adapt to change, commit to Christ, and engage in the mission. “A.C.E.” discipleship is the only way to follow Jesus!
Daily Reading: Luke 9:57-62
Bible Reading Challenge: 10 Days on Discipleship