Today’s Reading - Matthew 8:1-34
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” - Matthew 8:18-22
I am going on a diet after the holidays. I am going to start exercising after my knee feels better. I am going to travel after I retire. I am going to buy a house when I can afford it. We have all made similar statements or heard them spoken. Knowing we should do something yet not knowing all the consequences or finding reasons to delay is part of our human nature. This passage speaks to both of those principles. The teacher of the law and the disciple acted at the very heart of our human nature. He made a very bold statement of following Jesus anywhere and Jesus had to remind him how difficult that journey would be. Then the disciple found what appears to be a reasonable excuse to delay obedience and we assume the disciple’s father had already passed away. Not likely. He wouldn’t be out following Jesus around if his father had already died. He was just repeating the cultural expectation of being a son that he would be required to buy his father and if he didn’t it would be a major family disgrace. It could be years before this disciple would actually get around to following Jesus. Jesus was making a statement of spiritual inference, not practical application. Before we make bold statements about our desire to follow Christ, we must clearly know there is great cost involved and the expectation is we will follow now, not when we think we have our life in order and correct the things in our life we perceive Jesus will not like. Jesus accepts followers just as we are, but there is a great cost at following. I recall the first words of the Sermon on the Mount included being persecuted because of Jesus. He meant it when He spoke it.
Heavenly Father, make us aware of the very costly nature of being a follower of Jesus and let us be obedient in the now. We can always make excuses and we confess that has been true on many levels. Let our desire be one of following you regardless of the cost or the convenience at the moment. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.