ALL FOR ONE
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "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." He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
People come to Jesus in all kinds of ways. Some hear about Jesus for the first time as adults while others may have heard about Jesus' love for them from the nursery on. But no matter how they come, once they have come to know Him, they must follow Him. Again and again as Jesus interacted with people He invited them to come and follow. "Follow me," Jesus says.
This passage is a study of how people respond to Jesus' invitation and what it really means to be a Christ-follower. Let's look at the three individuals in the passage . . .
The first man came to Jesus and boldly said, "I will follow you wherever you go." We really can't tell much about the man from what is recorded here. In Matt. 8:19 it says that he was a scribe, a teacher of the Law. You will remember that it was upon the teachers of the law and the Pharisees that Jesus pronounced the "woes" in Matt. 23. He called them "hypocrites" and said that they were like "whitewashed tombs." They were the religious showmen of their day, but Jesus could see right through this man's crowd-pleasing act. Jesus knew the true condition of his heart. And He responded to the man's bold statement by saying, "You really don't know what you are talking about . . . there is no guarantee of security or comfort or honor where I am going.”
So instead of pursuing the first man, Jesus turned to a second and said, "[You] follow me." The second man's response is: "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." To be fair, the man didn’t say “No,” to Jesus. Instead he said, “Later, I’ve got something more important to do right now.” Some have suggested that the man’s father was still alive – this man was actually saying that he wanted to wait until he had his inheritance and THEN he would follow Jesus. In other words, he wanted to wait to follow Jesus until he was financially secure. In any case, Jesus interprets it as an unacceptable excuse.
Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family." This man actually followed the pattern set by the previous man when he vowed: “I will follow you, but . . .” Jesus’ response is pretty clear – If you are with me than you have to be with me . . . you can’t be going back or even looking back. Listen, to come to Christ with reservations is not to come to Christ at all. As Jesus said in Luke 17:32-33, "Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it."
The sad truth of this story is that all three of these men were actually with Jesus, to someone walking by they might even have seemed like one of his people, and they all said things that probably sounded good to the bystanders. But not one was a Christ-follower. None of them was a true disciple. There wasn't a good faithful servant in the group. Why? Because each one put self in front of Jesus. No one can follow Jesus that way. Jesus Himself made it quite plain: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." It’s not about you. It’s all about Jesus!
--- Pastor Keith Andrews