Demands of following Jesus!
Scripture reading for April 2nd: Luke 9:51-10:12
“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) Jesus was a man on a mission who had a goal in mind. The end of this goal was death by crucifixion, a resurrection and return to His home in heaven. He knew that He must prepare His followers to carry on the mission here on earth of reaching the entire world with the good news of repentance and faith. These disciples must be fully committed and follow His instructions implicitly.
When the disciples went ahead into Samaria to secure a place for Jesus and themselves to stay, they found opposition and rejection in a certain village. When James and John heard about this, they asked Jesus about calling fire down from heaven and destroying that village and people. Jesus rebuked them! Following Jesus was not just a power trip. There would be rejection and suffering. He had not come to judge, but to save!
As they walked along, a man came to Jesus and said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” (Luke 9:57-58) Jesus did not take every person who expressed interest in following Him. He made demands on them and plainly told them of the difficulties of the journey. Following Jesus may require great hardship and physical discomfort to reach those who need to hear the message.
Jesus asked another man they met to follow Him. This man asked for time to bury His father first. It is likely that the father was ill or maybe just old and this man felt the need to care for the father. Jesus told him to let the dead bury the dead and to instead go and proclaim the kingdom of God! Jesus demanded a willingness to leave even family responsibilities to do His will and work!
Another man said he wanted to follow Jesus, but wanted to go say good-bye to his family. Jesus told him, “No one who put his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” When one chooses to follow the Lord there must be no turning back. Fitness for God’s kingdom requires a focus and complete surrender.