A Follower of Christ
In Luke 10:57-62, Jesus teaches us some valuable lessons on one becoming a follower of Him. Many claim to be followers, yet in life they deny this assertion. Some will say they want to be a disciple, but are not willing to fully submit to the Lord. Either they are not ready to give up some sin to which they want to cling, or they refuse to do something required of them. In our text, we see Christ inviting one man to follow Him, while two others said they would follow.
The first man who volunteered to follow the Lord was told, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (verse 58). Jesus wanted him to be aware of the cost involved in being His follower. Our Lord had no home of His own. While traveling from place to place teaching His great gospel message, there were no hotels or nice comfortable Inns for rest at night. How many days and nights did the Lord find Himself out in the elements of the weather with no shelter? Was this man willing to make such a personal sacrifice to follow the Lord?
Jesus clearly pointed out if one wanted to be His disciple sacrifices had to be made. Three times, in Luke 14:25-35, the Lord uses the expression “cannot be My disciple” (verses 26, 27, 33). One must come to Him hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and even his own life (verse 26). Matthew 10:37 is a good commentary on the meaning of hating one’s family, etc. Christ must come first. Those who follow Him must bear their cross (verse 27). A disciple must crucify himself, bearing any shame, reproach and persecution involved in serving Him. There is a forsaking of all one might hold near and dear to be a disciple (verse 33). This is the price one must be willing to pay to be a follower of Jesus Christ (verses 28- 32).
To the second man in this story, Jesus says, “Follow Me” (Luke 9:59). His response was he needed to first go bury his father. This certainly seems to be the respectable thing to do, showing honor to a deceased love one. Yet the Lord said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God” (verse 60). Those who are spiritually dead can provide the burial for those who are physically dead. This seems, at least to us, to be harsh and unreasonable. Yet I believe the Lord is teaching us a valuable lesson in having our priorities in order. Far too many Christians put other things in life ahead of serving God.
Jesus shows us the importance of preaching the gospel to a world of lost sinners. His apostles were told, “Go make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18); “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). The gospel is still God’s power unto salvation today (Romans 1:16). Churches of our Lord and individual Christians have placed other things ahead of preaching the gospel. Where are our priorities?
The third man in Luke’s story steps forward, saying, he would follow but he needed to first go bid those of his house farewell (Luke 9:61). This seems harmless enough; and if he only said “goodbye” surely this would not have taken very long. Were there to be some festive activities associated with his departure, wasting valuable time? Would those of his house persuade him to change his mind? Regardless, there is always danger in delay. Christ said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). His focus needed to be on the Lord and His kingdom.
How difficult is it to plow a straight row if one is looking back and not where he is going? Christ said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). The story of this woman, and what she did, is recorded for us in Genesis 19. As Lot, his wife, and two daughters were escaping the destruction of Sodom, they were told not to look back. His wife failed to obey and became a pillar of salt (verse 26). Was she looking back longing for the things she had enjoyed in the city, not wanting to give those things up? As a follower of Christ, we must never take our eyes off heaven. Our hearts or minds must be upon those things above (Colossians 3:2). How easy it is for us to look back to the world, from where we came, wanting either to remain friends with it or still loving those sinful things we have given up (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). One of the reasons the men and women in Hebrews 11 were successful in serving God, they never lost sight of the country to which they were going (verses 13-15).
Want to be a follower of Christ? Be determined to make any sacrifices necessary, counting the cost, realizing the rewards far outweigh the hardships one might be called upon to endure. Always have your priorities in order, putting the Lord first; He will provide the things we need. And never lose your focus in life; keeping your spiritual eyes turned toward heaven. If you will heed His instruction, you can successfully be His follower.