Matthew 8:19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 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.” NKJV
When news began to spread that there was a man called Jesus who could perform great miracles, many became excited. Some were excited over the possibility of being healed. Others were excited over the possibility that the Messiah had finally arrived. And still, others were excited about the opportunity for adventure.
As Jesus performed His many miracles, a religious teacher suddenly exclaimed, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” I wonder what Jesus thought as He heard these words. Did He think, “Great! Here’s another disciple!”, or was it, “Will you? Will you give up everything in order to become one of My disciples? Will you follow Me all the way to the end?’ Jesus responded to the man’s eagerness by saying – “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus was more than happy to have this man follow Him; however, the Lord wanted him to know that his decision must be based upon more than his emotions. Jesus was looking for disciples that would be fully committed all the way to the very end.
Matthew 8:21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” NKJV
Jesus’s response to this man seemed rather heartless. How could Jesus expect the man to leave before his father’s funeral? The problem was, most believe that the father wasn’t dead. The man wasn’t saying, “Give me a day or so to pay proper respect to my father.” What he was saying was, “Maybe sometime in the future, when things are more convenient, then I too will follow You.” Again, we see someone who was getting more caught up in their emotions than making a conscious decision of their will to follow Jesus as the Lord of their life. For the first man, it was “I will follow You because it seems like an exciting thing to do.” For the second man, it was “I will follow You as long as it’s convenient.” Neither man met the requirements necessary in order to become one of Jesus’ disciples. What kind of people is Jesus looking for?
On another occasion, Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24 NKJV) Being a follower of Jesus is not about a life of comfort or convenience. It’s not about glamour or excitement. It’s not about our personal preferences or opinions. Being a follower of Jesus is about dying to ourselves so that we might live for Him.
Some followers of Jesus have actually died because of their faith. We call them ‘martyrs.’ But every follower of Jesus has to die to themselves daily. Every follower has to put the will of Christ ahead of their own will. Every follower has to lay aside what is sometimes the most convenient in order to do what is often the most necessary. Every follower has to be willing to suffer personally in order to meet the needs of others. Every follower has to drive down their stake of commitment and go back and resecure it often.
Until we meet again, God bless you brethren.