Jesus challenges us to live life urgently. He does not have a “plan B” for us. We are His plan. We must deliver the message of how it works in God’s world (Kingdom). We must be “all in” for Jesus. He will accept nothing less. He is clear about that.
It is way too easy to let the concerns of this world outweigh the urgency of His world. Jesus knows that is a danger. God’s goal is for us to live urgently for him. God wants us to be all in.
So, let’s put this in context. A man wanted to be a disciple. Jesus said to him, “Come follow me.” The man said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”
- Seems reasonable to all of us, I am sure.
- Anyone would understand that and say “Sure, no problem.
- Sorry for your loss. I will pray for you.
- Join me after your time of mourning.”
That was not how Jesus reacted. Jesus refused his request and challenged him to decide what was more important, a funeral or following Jesus. Really? Yes, really.
Jesus challenges us to go all in for Him.
To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Master [Lord], let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Luke 9:59–60). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Three men could have become disciples, but they would not meet the conditions that Jesus laid down. The first man was a scribe (part of the religious elite) who volunteered to go until he heard the cost: he had to deny himself. Apparently, he was accustomed to a comfortable home.
The second man was called by Jesus (what an honor!), but he was rejected because he would not take up the cross and die to self.
- He was worried about somebody else’s funeral when he should have been planning his own!
- Jesus is not suggesting here that we dishonor our parents, but only that we not permit our love for family to weaken our love for the Lord.
- We should love the Messiah Jesus so much that our love for family would look like hatred in comparison.
The third man also volunteered, but he could not follow Jesus because he was looking back instead of ahead. There is nothing wrong with a loving farewell, but if it gets in the way of obedience, it becomes sin. Jesus saw that this man’s heart was not wholly with Him, but that he would be plowing and looking back.
No wonder the laborers are few!
What Jesus taught His disciples and the multitudes had done them little good. They lacked power, love, and discipline, and they grieved His heart. If we today lack these spiritual essentials, we can never truly be His disciples, but they are available to us from the Master. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7, NIV).
- Are we a joy to Jesus the Messiah, or are we breaking His heart?
- Will we pay the price that it costs to follow Jesus?
- Can we sacrifice everything for Him?
The good news: Jesus promises to give us the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises us the burden is light. Jesus promises us rest and comfort. Jesus will keep His word.