The Book of Luke, Conflicting Commitments, Part I - Lesson 126
Chapter Nine of Luke is a chapter where we are taught much about what Jesus Christ expects in and from a disciple.
We have been taught that disciples are expected to trust in God for power and authority to do Godís will.
They are expected to believe that all necessary provision in carrying out Godís will will be provided.
They are expected to hear, Godís Son, Jesus Christ for He is Godís word.
They are expected to have his word sink down into their ears that His Word will become a part of their everyday life.
In other words they will be doers of the word and not hearers only.
They are expected to know that Jesus Christ came not to destroy menís lives but to save menís lives and that this knowledge must transfer into compassion for menís souls.
And in this last passage of Luke 9 we will learn the extent of the commitment that a disciple is to have to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will learn what is expected of a disciple by Jesus Christ as to his dedication to Him and to His cause.
We read: Luke 9:57-62, And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Now, as is the usual case in the scriptures, these are strong words.
Jesus Christ never spoke weak namby pamby words as we do on many occasions.
He never spoke words in vain that were weakly sentimental trying to puff up as we normally do for Jesus Christ was perfectly honest and did not have a drop of hypocrisy in his body.
Take this event to the present day and have it occur between a modern preacher and a would be follower and it might read something like this:
Ludwig 9:57-62, (my words) And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58And Jesus said unto him, How wonderful and bold of you to make that commitment. Iím sure that God will bless us and things will go well for us as we serve Him.
59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60Jesus said unto him, Certainly go ahead and do that, for family matters are important and must be seen to. Take care of that responsibility and your mind and heart will be clear and then come and follow me. We certainly have to make allowances for things like this.
61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, I am very glad that you intend to join my team. I am proud of you for knowing that farewells are important and that you think so highly of family so go ahead and when you are done with that carefully reevaluate your decision and if you still want to follow me Iím sure we can make a place for you in my kingdom.
What a difference in our reaction to a would be follower and the reaction of the Lord.
Over and over again we see how far we are from Godís thoughts for our thoughts are thoughts of accommodation and inclusion.
We want followers of Christ through any condescension or compromise but that is not the heart of Jesus Christ and we see that heart clearly expressed in this passage.
We are to notice in this passage that Jesus Christ is not nearly as eager to attract or to accept followers as we are.
Come shake the preachers hand, come jump into the baptismal pool, come to a learners class and learn what the church expects of you in being a member.
But many of those who sincerely intended to follow Jesus went away, scratching their heads because Jesus did not enthusiastically accept them.
I would suppose that the man who said he would follow Jesus anywhere expected an excited and approving reaction from Jesus Christ.
But Jesus Christ knew that manís heart and that heart was wrapped up in the comforts of home as Jesus Christ informed him that the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
He did not want disciples who would dwell on what they left behind in order to follow him so he made things clear as to what may befall them.
Jesus Christ wants men and women to follow him whole-heartedly.
He did not downplay or conceal the high cost of discipleship.
Over and over again He spoke of the high cost of discipleship, and urged men and women not to follow Him if they had not counted the cost.
Jesus does not want to discourage men from following Him.
It is only that He wants those who follow Him to understand what discipleship is about.
Following Jesus begins with trusting in Him as Godís promised Messiah, Godís one and only means of salvation.
It is by faith in Him, in His life, in His substitutionary death for our sins, in His burial and resurrection, that men can have their sins forgiven and enter into eternal life.
It is believing the precious Gospel, the precious good news of Jesus Christ.
To follow him is to follow the one who alone can save for there is none other. God is one way about salvation!
He has not multiple plans or options to fit every foot.
Following Him is the greatest privilege ever offered to us.
But it is not an easy path and he never proclaims it to be.
In many passages of scripture Jesus Christ makes it very plain as to where He is to fit in the priorities of life.
And if a person desires to be his disciple that person must accept His priority list.
Priority means precedence in place or rank.
It means, the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, or precedence.
Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
That is the first priority.
Seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness and that is only done by following Christ.
Jesus Christ said in Luke 14:26, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Here again we see how high Jesus Christ is on the priority list of life.
Here we see how high he is to be in relation to father, to mother, to wife and to children.
Here we see how high he is in relation to family.
By using the word hate he describes how high he is in comparison to family.
It is a relational word to describe how high above he is to those whom we relate to on a daily basis, our family.
Paul wrapped up the placing of Jesus Christ at the top of the priority list in Col. 1:18, And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
This position of Jesus Christ as preeminent is very clear in the scriptures and God expects any disciple to recognize this, to embrace this, and to live his life accordingly.
And to do so means that family is not on the throne.
We assign sacred cows to India for Indians worship sacred cows and leave them to roam wherever they wish.
But there are many sacred cows in our land also and these are also allowed to roam wherever they wish.
These are the sacred cows that roam the Christianís heart.
A sacred cow of the heart is someone or something considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.
The sacred cow that comes to mind in relation to our passage today is the sacred cow of ďthe family.Ē
God created the family and because God created the family it is a wonderful institution and can be a great blessing.
We are to provide for our families but in providing we are still to trust in God as the ultimate provider.
I Timothy 5:8, But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
But by making the family the number one priority we make it a sacred cow and as such we may worship the family and place the family on the top of the priority list ahead of Christ.
So this is what this passage is all about, the slaying of the sacred cow of the family.
One thing you can be sure of in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He never puts up with sacred cows.
Sacred cows are short lived in his presence.
He destroyed the cow through Moses, that Aaron constructed at Mount Sinai.
And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
We may think of the response of Jesus Christ to these three volunteers, prospective followers, as harsh and unwelcoming but he did exactly the same thing to Aaronís sacred cow many years prior in the wilderness.
There was absolutely no understanding on his part of Aaronís cow.
There was no dialogue to consider Aaronís feelings.
And Jesus Christ has absolutely no understanding of the sacred cow of family first.
He intends no part of the sacred cow of family first to continue and he grinds it to powder with his responses to these three volunteers.