He Never Said It’d Be Easy

Matthew 8:18-20

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

This is a pretty interesting reply by Jesus. Here you have a well-respected individual telling Jesus that he will follow him anywhere. If it was me I’d be all excited and like, “Sweet! We need influential people like you. I’m so glad you’re willing to join our team!”

But Jesus says in effect, “Are you really sure you want to follow me? You need to know that this is gonna be a lot harder than you realize. For one thing, I don’t even think we have a place to sleep tonight. Following me will be demanding and strenuous, and might even be bad for your health…”

And then another guy comes up to Jesus and makes a similar statement:

Matthew 8:21-22

Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

This guy, too, is ready and willing to be Jesus’ disciple, but… he just needs to take care of one small thing. And it seems to me like it’s a pretty important thing. It is good to take time to grieve our loved ones who have died.

But again, Jesus’ reply is odd and even comes across as harsh. I think however that what Jesus is saying is understandable in light of the importance of his mission: “If you want to follow me, that’s fine. But the work that I am about is so important and urgent that there is not even time for you to glance over your shoulder. If you’re my disciple, then be my disciple. I say jump, and you say how high. Now are you still willing to sign up for this?”

Jesus is saying that following him is a big deal. It’s not all sunshine and cotton candy. And it’s an all or nothing kind of thing. And he wants us to know this up front… straight out of the gate. He doesn’t hold any punches.

He actually makes it harder on these two guys to choose to follow him. He’s telling them to count the cost.

How about you? Do you think it’s worth it to follow Jesus? No matter the price? Why?