“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
At the end of Luke 9, we find a story about three men who approached Jesus, eager to follow Him. In surprising fashion, though, Jesus seems to have tried to talk them out of doing so. The first guy said, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus responded, “foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” In other words, Jesus told this man that homelessness was part of the journey. The second man told Jesus that his father had just died. The man wanted to go back, bury his father, and then follow Jesus. Jesus replied, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” A third man approached Jesus and told Him that he wanted to follow Him, but before he did, he wanted to say goodbye to his family. Jesus told the man, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” Plainly put, a relationship with Jesus requires total and exclusive devotion.
What if you were among the three would-be followers of Jesus in Luke 9? What if you were the potential disciple being told to become homeless? What if you were the one who couldn’t bury his dad? What if we were told that we couldn’t even say goodbye to your family? What if you didn’t want to deal with the least, the last, and the lost?
This is where we come face to face with the reality of following Jesus. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love Him in a way that outweighs our closest relationships. Things get real when we give ourselves fully and completely to the endless quest of knowing Jesus and achieving His purposes.
So, we need to continually ask ourselves self-probing questions to see if our commitment is what it should be. Does your life show commitment to Christ? Does the frequency of your church attendance show commitment to Christ? Does the way you worship show commitment? Does the way you conduct yourself when no one is looking indicate a commitment to the Lord?
Jesus came to serve, not to be served. He washed the disciples’ feet, He served them as He also served the people that they met each day. Healing and teaching the common folks, from farmers to prostitutes, to tax collectors. Jesus sets the example for us to follow in our commitment. Jesus was committed to going where He was needed and suffering for a people who rejected Him.
Jesus is looking for disciples who will follow Him and make him the most important part of their lives so that He is in control of every part. He is looking for commitment.
- What does following Jesus mean to you?