Jump Start # 2582
Luke 9:57 “And as they were going a long the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”
In the context of our verse today we read about three men. Two of them openly said to Jesus, “I will follow You.” The third man was asked by Jesus, “Follow Me.” Following Jesus is the nature of discipleship. Have you ever noticed a family taking a walk together? There is always one child who wants to be out front. He has to lead. As the family is going along, the child out front turns around and makes sure that everyone else is still in sight. That’s the way some are with Jesus.
Some want to lead Jesus. They want to take the Lord to places the Lord never went nor intended to go. They want to lead. They want Jesus to follow them. Having the Lord with them gives credibility to what they are doing. It’s like a divine approval.
Others want to follow Jesus at a distance. They want to keep Jesus in sight, but not too close. They want the freedom to do things their own way. They want to stop when they want to stop and go when they want to go. As long as they can still see Jesus off in the distance, they are ok. But the more they drop behind, the more that they really do not see Jesus. They miss out. They are not seeing what they ought to see.
Then there are those from our passage today. They will follow, but it has to be when they are ready. In our context, two of the three men say, “Permit me first.” I will follow, but I have something I have to do. I can’t follow you until I first do this other thing. What I have to do is more important than following you.
One wanted to bury his father. The other wanted to say good-bye to those at home. I’ll follow, but first let me do something else.
Following Jesus back then, and following Jesus today, is not always the easiest thing to do. Back then, it meant going from village to village and not having any definite roots anywhere. It meant growing crowds and then growing opposition. It meant a destination for Jesus at the Cross. This wasn’t going to be a parade. This wasn’t a short walk down a path in the park. This was a journey that would change their lives. This was a journey of commitment, dedication and faith.
Following Jesus today doesn’t mean walking from village to village, as it did in the first century, but it means a similar journey of commitment, dedication and faith. Modern churches have tried to make Jesus “cool.” T-shirts. Marketing. Merchandise. Trendy. Popular. But following Jesus was never “cool.” Jesus didn’t fit in with the Jewish upper crust. Following Jesus didn’t set well with Romans. The message was foolish to Gentiles. The apostles weren’t rock stars. They were considered scum of the earth. And, to stay very close to Jesus hasn’t changed much today. If you stick with His word as it says, you are considered narrow, bigoted, legalistic.
Following Jesus. That’s a grand idea and a true Biblical principle. But the question remains how will I follow Jesus?
Will I follow Jesus as long as He is going where I want to go? What if the Lord goes someplace I don’t want to go? Will I still follow? Or, will I stop, and wait for Him to go where I want to go and then I will catch up with Him there? The Lord will take you to villages such as forgiveness. Will you follow Him there? Will you forgive? The Lord will go to places such as purity and holiness. Will you follow the Lord there? The Lord will travel to destinations such as responsibility, opportunity and obligation. These are about the kingdom, His kingdom. Will I travel there? Along the way the Lord expects us to use our talents to do all that we can. Will we? Or, will we just go along for a nice walk on a sunny day? What about those days when the Lord goes through the dark valleys of death? Will I stick with Him? Will He find me right behind Him? Will I stay with Jesus when others are wanting me to go another direction? What then? Which path will I choose?
The men in our context claimed that they wanted to follow Jesus, but their words and their feet didn’t match up. They weren’t fully in. They wanted to do other things first. They wanted to follow, but on their terms. They had quick excuses to justify why they couldn’t go right now. Jesus wasn’t going to wait for one to deal with a dead person, or for the other to tell everyone at home, good-bye. Jesus was on a mission. He was on the move. Follow me meant right now.
We are not told what happened to these three people. Did they follow? Did they go home and come back and find out that Jesus wasn’t waiting. He was gone. Did they miss out? Did they complain to others how insensitive Jesus was for not allowing them to do what they wanted to do? Did they ever follow?
Do we truly follow? What do we do when things are tough? What do we do when we don’t feel like it?
I will follow you, Lord. I will. Can you say that? Can you do that?