“What does it take to follow Jesus?” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson.
In the coming scripture, three men give us a picture of what it takes to follow Jesus. The first volunteers and invites himself to follow Jesus wherever He may go. Jesus gives the second man an invitation to follow Him, but the man replies he must first bury his father. The third offers to follow Jesus as soon as he bids a farewell to his family. As we examine their responses and Jesus’ responses, there are three powerful principles that will allow us a measurement to know where we are in our commitment to follow Jesus.
We Must Have a ‘Right’ Perspective
Luke 9: 57 – “Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, ‘Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.’”
The first man was not solicited but he volunteered. The scripture further indicates in verse 58, that man has no ties to this world. Following Jesus may not equal the securities of the world. If we are committed to following Jesus, we need the ‘right’ perspective. Challenges will continue to come, and when they do, will we still maintain the same attitude in our walk of following Jesus? Security should be in Him, not in the things of the world. We must find security in who He is, as opposed to finding security in what we have. If there was no promise of getting anything from God, would we continue to follow?
“Beware of making an enthusiastic commitment without adequate consideration.” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson.
Luke 9: 59 – “Then He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’”
In scripture, Jesus made the invitation to follow Him many times. On most occasions those invited would drop it all and begin to follow immediately. But in this case, it was not so.
“Beware of using empty excuses to prevent you from making whole-hearted decisions.” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson.
Jesus was not being disrespectful or insensitive. In those times, burial was expedient. If one died, they would almost certainly be buried by sunrise. The response of this man to the invitation to follow Jesus by first requesting to bury his father would appear to be an excuse. Jesus’ response in verse 60 was simply a lesson on procrastination. It shows that some will make a commitment based on an uncertain future, and not make a commitment to the concrete here and now. Making such a commitment requires that we give Him precedence over everything else.
We Must Have Real Perseverance
If we are going to follow Jesus at this level, we must be “all in.” We may have to put aside all that we have and persevere without, in order to stay the course. In the scripture of John 6 :55-67, when Jesus begins to talk in the way of being “all in” many disciples begin to fall away. When He speaks of drinking of His blood and eating of His flesh, it is almost impossible to see this as a literal notion. But He is essentially saying that following Him requires we stay the course and not look back. That we must persevere and follow Jesus, even if He doesn’t answer our prayers, even if things don’t turn out as planned, even if the road we travel is more difficult than the road traveled by a non-believer. Yet and still we must follow and stay the course, persevering through the challenges.
God is calling us to a greater level of commitment to not only love Him, but to submit to a greater level of following. In reflection, there is a story shared by Sam Chand. That many of the Hymns originated here in America and then their words and verses were translated in various languages throughout the world. But there is one Hymn that originates in India, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, and it was thus translated into English. In our culture, Christianity is a prominent religion. Our relatives, our children, many of our friends, worship and believe as we do. In our walk to follow Jesus, rarely do we have to leave the comfort of our family behind. But in India, Hinduism is prominent and following Jesus can be met with great opposition. It is said that a man created this Hymn after his decision to follow Jesus. He was publicly baptized, and family, friends, and villagers came to stand and look upon him with disgust, meeting him with shouts of opposition, spatting upon him and ostracizing him from his home. In light of this, we must then ask ourselves, if there are people who would give it all up to follow Jesus, what then is our excuse?