Text: Luke 9:51-62 Theme: Following Jesus means serious commitment. Key verses: “…a man said to him, ‘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.’ (v. 57-58) “…the man replied, ‘Lord first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'” (v. 59-60) “…’first, let me go back and say good-by to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” (v. 61-62) What God said to me: Dwayne, try to imagine yourself in each one of these people’s shoes for a moment. For the first one, your statement sounds convincing enough. You are certainly sincere when you say you will follow Jesus wherever he goes. But Jesus turns it right back on you and puts you quickly into reality. Your lofty ideals of what that statement might mean are brought down to earth when he looks at you and says in essence, “Where I go is extremely unpleasant and inconvenient and unwelcoming.” Thus, first of all, commitment to following JesusÂ is sacrificial. Now imagine you’re the next guy who declaresÂ your intention to follow Jesus. Aren’t you well within your right to want to take care of important family matters first? Surely the death and burial of your father is more than enough reason for Jesus to excuse you from his service temporarily? Even as you areÂ repeating in your mindÂ those reasonable wordsÂ you just spoke to him, Jesus blows away all your justifications and tells you nothing is more important than going andÂ proclaimingÂ the Kingdom of God. Thus, secondly, commitmentÂ to following Jesus must beÂ supreme. As the third person, before you launch into this radical and life-long change in living, you simply want some time to go backÂ and say good-by to your family and your past. What’s wrong with that? How could one more nodÂ toward your family and friends back home hurt anything? Jesus obviously doesn’t approve of your idea. He quickly and clearly tells you that what you are in essence doing is looking backwards after you have already decided to go forwards with him. That plan will meet certain failure and your life will end up looking like crooked rows in a poorly-plowed field. Therefore, third, commitment to following Jesus must be solid — there can be no wavering or second-thoughts. Looking back regretfully or longingly is a serious offense before me. Jesus himself never looked back from what he had to do and to face on earth. I expect no less of you… What I said to God: Righteous Judge, I submit and humble myself before Your throne. I have said and prayed numerous times that I will follow You. Yet, I have personified all three of these people and their particular issues with commitment. Please forgive me. I embrace my commitment to You. With all that is in me and only by Your grace and power, I declareÂ my love for YouÂ to be sacrificial, supreme, and solid.
10. April 2008 Luke 0