Luke 9:57-58 Each of these brief discourses between Jesus and Christ-followers is very instructive. Each provides admonitions that should influence our attitude in walking with God and fulfilling the call of Discipleship on our lives. It would be a mistake to see these interactions as being relevant only at the start of our walk with the Lord. Just as we are to crucify our old sinful nature daily, so we are to daily examine our dedication to being discipled by Jesus. Now, let’s take a closer look.
Luke 9:57-58 suggests that one of the men walking with Jesus spoke to Him. This man was very likely, already following Jesus. Perhaps we could say he was in the exploration phase, as he checked out the pros and cons and gave serious consideration to a commitment. Jesus could have gently persuaded and encouraged him. But He did not. Instead, Jesus went out of His way to discourage him, just in case he was capable of being discouraged. Jesus told the man something that was true, but that was almost certainly to be misunderstood. He could have told the man that the cattle upon a thousand hills and all the gold and other precious things in this world belong to Him. He could even have said that in His father’s house, there are many mansions. But he did not. Instead, he said “The Son of Man”, unlike even the animals, has nowhere to lay His head. Come on… give me a break… which of us in that moment would have been Theologically attuned enough to recognize the distinction between “Son of Man” and “Son of God”? And yet, they are one and the same, only with different emphases in persona. Jesus was saying, if you could think or conceive of 99 good reasons to be my disciple, but have only 1 reservation, you are not ready, and you have missed the mark. This style of Jesus is consistent with God testing Abraham with the instruction to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Remember how Elijah tried to discourage Elisha from witnessing his being taken up to heaven? They were just tests. Both Abraham and Elisha passed with flying colors.
Again, verse 59 infers that Jesus spoke to another of the men who were walking with Him. Note the man said “yes” to the invitation of Jesus, but with a condition. No! No! No! He missed the point too. When the Creator of the Universe and Maker of heaven and earth condescends to ask you to do something… your answer must always be “yes”. When He says “jump”, all we must ask is, “how high”. There was nothing evil with the man’s conditional request. The problem was that it was only a 99% “yes”. Our availability to God must be unconditional, even if, irrationally, and unreasonably so.
Verse 61-62 depicts another follower of Jesus who had a very understandable conditional request. In fact Jesus would be the first to say, “Children… obey your parents in the Lord! (Ephesians 6:1)” But the standard for adults is different. The call of David was routed through Jessee. The call of Samuel was routed through Eli. Adults on the other hand, in response to the call of God must be willing to forsake all.
As Tim Gustafson points eminently depicts, there are many passages that highlight the scenic beauty of the privileges of following Jesus. This passage highlights the price and the cost of the investment. But Mark 10:29-30 puts it all in perspective. Not 100 %, but 100 times return on our investment in this age has got to be the highest ROI known to man.
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