Counting the Costs of Discipleship according to Luke 9

I want to draw our attention to a passage in Luke 9 that the Lord was speaking to me about concerning what it means to follow Him. Here is the passage:

“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to go bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62

Servant 1: The Servant Who Wants a Home in the World

Jesus says to the first servant that the “Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” He brings up how the Father has ordained that the bird and foxes both have homes made for them. How about those who would follow His one and only Son? It is the opposite, for they have no home. In as much as God in His wisdom has made dwelling places for all the animals of the earth, God has made no such place for followers of Jesus. They are the only wanderers of the Earth; the pilgrims who are constantly at sea; they find no place to rest their heads.

Why is this significant? 

Jesus in John 15 tells us that he has not only redeemed and purchased us from sin and death, but from this very world. He has called us out of this world, and so we are. Our standards are not of this world. Its fashions and ways may grab the attention of the millions, but not the followers of Jesus; our eyes are gazed heavenward. ‘Home is not here’ we console our hearts. And it most certainly isn’t! 

Let us quickly learn this lesson then: If we have decided to follow Jesus, then we have decided to follow Jesus. As Jesus was constantly on the move in His earthly ministry, never vacationing, always preaching, always working, always bearing fruit, so we should know what to expect as we live our lives. We have no securities in this world. We are not enslaved by our employers, nor bound by our next paycheck. Jesus is the Lord of our lives, and He has the say on what we should do.

Servant 2: The Servant Who is Bound by Human Obligations

This servant asks Jesus to let him bury his father before he goes to follow Him. Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

The man wanted to show respect to the dead; Jesus wanted the man to be gripped by the uncertainty of salvation of the living. The man wanted Jesus to let him perform his earthly obligations; Jesus wants the man to be sold out on fulfilling the obligation God has with Abraham of blessing the nations through him. The man wanted to raise a condition and a predication before he would do what Jesus wanted to do; Jesus wanted to obliterate all such conditions and for him to “proclaim the kingdom of God.” 

Jesus wants our absolute commitment in our following him. There are no conditions. There are no obligations elsewhere. We bring none of that to the table. Let the costs come, but the costs do not come without a reward. It is to such as these that Jesus says that they have not failed to recieved a hundredfold in the kingdom to come. We must rid ourselves of foolish planning. We must rid ourselves of human ambitions. We must rid ourselves holding onto our traditions. For they will all get burned in the jealous fire of the Holy Spirit. Let us surrender our all to Jesus!

Servant 3: The Servant Who Second Guesses His Decision

At a glance, we may be tempted to believe that the second servant is like the third, for the third simliarly says, “Let me say farewell to those at my home.” But a look into what Jesus’ perfect revelation lets us know exactly what is going on in the heart of that would-be disciple. Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” People have many reasons to say good-bye to their family, but this would-be disciple is holding on to his earthly life. While the second would-be disciple is doing so for obligations sake, the third is doing for joy’s sake.

He is unconvinced that the decision to follow Jesus is the best. He is working with his hand to the plow and looks back because he contemplates whether his toil is worth it. And that is exactly his problem- he sees the following of Jesus as just another labor in the course of the human experience, not the only thing actually worth laboring for as human beings. He is unsold and unsettled. He has not made up his mind that this Jesus is the Messiah and the one way to the Father.

Does Jesus wait for him? No, He doesn’t

Jesus is on the move in this world, and we are all on the move towards the judgment day. There is no time for delay in making decisions to fully follow Jesus. There is no time to be a would-be disciple. There is only a decision to be made and it’s an all or nothing decision. It’s an up or down decision. It’s a heaven or hell decision. Jesus keeps it simple like that. There’s no purgatory; there’s no middle ground in the Christian faith. 

Choose Christ.

Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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