In Luke 9:57-62 we find Jesus teaching us the cost of discipleship. So that we rightly understand His teaching, we must know that a Christian is a disciple, is a believer, is a follower, is a Christian. In other words, they are one and the same.
To be a believer is to be a follower of Jesus. In this passage we find common excuses that people often have for not following Jesus. These three men are interested in Jesus, but not ready to truly follow Him.
The first fellow we find in this passage tells Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus responds “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
I think it is clear the Holy Spirit would have us focus on Jesus’ responses to these men. He knows their hearts and His responses without a doubt are perfectly matched to their need.
Considering Jesus response, this man is likely leading a comfortable lifestyle and Jesus is letting him know that following him may cost him his comfort. Discipleship will cost us comfort at some level: loving difficult people is uncomfortable, giving sacrificially is uncomfortable, and sacrificing time can be uncomfortable. Will you let comfort keep you from following Jesus?
Our second encounter in this passage is with a man whose excuse for not following Jesus relates to what he considers a good thing. The key word here is first, “let me first go and bury my father.”
Jesus response seems quite radical, he says, “Leave the dead to go and bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Jesus is saying this is a good thing for those who are not called to do the best thing: you go get on with the mission of God. We learn that busyness and ‘good things’ are not a valid excuse for not following Jesus. Will you let good things keep you from following Jesus?
Our final, would be disciple, also has an excuse for not fully following Christ. He says, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
The key word here is “but first”, and Jesus knowing the heart, says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
There is to be no “but first” stuff in following Jesus. He must be our highest allegiance, even over family. Will you let relationships keep you from following Jesus?