In the course of Jesus’ ministry, there were those who chose to follow him without question. But there were also those who wanted to follow him, but with certain prerequisites. Jesus took issue with their conditions.
The Hasty Disciple
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” - Luke 9:57, 58
Often someone can get so excited about what God is up to that they don't think about what they the extent of the commitment. They simply don't count the cost. Jesus warned this disciple to really consider what it meant to me his follower.
It appears to me that this disciple was more interested in the attention Jesus was receiving and wanting to attach himself to it. He didn't seem as interested in what it meant to surrender to Jesus and take up his mission.
The Hesitant Disciple
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he 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.” - Like 9:59, 60
Sometimes it's not about jumping in too fast, but the very opposite; dragging your feet. It can be very tempting to create excuses for not accepting Jesus’ call to follow Him. Believe me, there’s always something that will appear more important. It will even be honorable and logical. However, when Jesus calls, there is no ”but.”
This disciple told Jesus that he wanted to follow Jesus but he needed to wait for his father to pass away. It sounds like a respectable request. Maybe he was taking care of him. Jesus saw it differently. With insight, Jesus addressed this disciple’s excuse and then told him what was ultimately more important. When Jesus calls, don't hesitate.
The Homesick Disciple
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61, 62
I think we all are guilty at one time or another of dragging our past into our future. We want to hold onto people and things that are not healthy for us. Unfortunately, this type of baggage can really screw up what Jesus is desiring to do in us and through us.
This disciple wanted some kind of closure. Jesus knew that if he went to his family and friends, they might try to persuade him from embracing his new life in Christ. Imagine trying to drive your car while looking in the rearview mirror the entire time. You will inevitably veer off course and crash. Jesus knew the same thing would happen for this disciple if he continued to look backwards.
So there you have it: Three disciples who sincerely wanted to follow Jesus, yet unconsciously, had ulterior motives.
Do any of them resonate with you? Maybe like me, you resonate in some way with all three. Why not be honest with Jesus and ask him to show you where you are hasty, hesitant, or homesick?
Then count the cost, jump in, and don't look back.