"Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!" - Isaac Watts (1674-1748) - When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Matthew 8:19-22 (NIV84) - "Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'
Another disciple said to him, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.' But Jesus told him, 'Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'”
COUNT THE COST
Too often, we sign up to do something without considering all that the commitment may require of us. In many cases, we trust the recruiter enough. In other cases, we figure that we can always back out of our commitment.
What do we commit to when we respond to Jesus' call: "Follow Me"?
In last Sunday's message, we saw how Jesus interacted with two individuals who wanted to follow Him. One was a teacher of the Law (i.e. a scribe), the other a "disciple." The scribe was ready to follow Jesus wherever He would go, but the disciple was asking permission to go and bury his father before he could follow Jesus.
Jesus' response to the scribe made it clear that following Him required careful consideration of the price he would have to pay. Following a teacher meant learning from them and becoming like them and Jesus was more than an ordinary teacher. He was the "Son of Man," who would be rejected and suffer humiliation and pain on a cross. Following Him would not have the prestige or recognition the scribe was expecting. Elsewhere (see Luke 14:25-33), Jesus explained to those who desired to follow Him what it meant to be a "disciple" of His: (1) They must be willing to forsake precious family members and even their own life, (2) they must be willing to endure suffering, and (3) they must be willing to forsake all their earthly possessions. In other words, if you are going to follow Jesus wherever He would go, consider first that you must pay the highest price.
The disciple who wanted to first go and bury his father revealed that he wasn't quite ready to follow Jesus at that moment. Maybe he was waiting until he would receive his inheritance, or maybe he had received word that there was an obligation waiting for him at home. Jesus' response to that disciple made it clear that following Him required immediate and complete obedience. Jesus is the Son of God who has the highest authority, so every other obligation, desire or intention needs to be surrendered to Him as our highest priority.
Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Is there an instruction from Him that you have still been avoiding or neglecting? Are you being partially obedient or delaying your obedience in any given area that His Word addresses? Is there anything that keeps you too busy from spending time alone with Him?
Following Jesus means that He is worth the highest price we must pay and He has become the highest priority in our life.
As I consider my commitment to follow Jesus, I remember also, that whatever price I have paid or will have to pay to faithfully follow Jesus, I have been or will be rewarded with something far greater than I could have ever imagined!