Follow Jesus TodayFrom The Heart
Publish date: 09/02/2012
Now Jesus, when He saw the great throngs around Him, gave orders to cross to the other side [of the lake]. 19 And a scribe came up and said to Him, Master, I will accompany You wherever You go. 20 And Jesus replied to him, Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have lodging places, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. 21 Another of the disciples said to Him, Lord, let me first go and bury [care for till death] my father. 22 But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and leave the dead [in sin] to bury their own dead. Matthew 8:18-22 AMP
Now Jesus, when He saw the great throngs around Him, gave orders to cross to the other side [of the lake]. 19 And a scribe came up and said to Him, Master, I will accompany You wherever You go. 20 And Jesus replied to him, Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have lodging places, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. 21 Another of the disciples said to Him, Lord, let me first go and bury [care for till death] my father. 22 But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and leave the dead [in sin] to bury their own dead.
Matthew 8:18-22 AMP
Great throngs of people were flooding in to receive miracles and healings from Jesus and He gave orders to His disciples to cross over to the other side of the lake. The scribe wanted to follow Jesus, but he had not counted the cost. A disciple wanted to follow Jesus, or so he said, but he wanted Jesus to wait for him. Many people have been called to follow Jesus, but some of them have not counted the cost and they will start out, only to end up giving up halfway. If you start, you must also commit to finish. Others are full of excuses of why they can’t start following Him right now.
In the disciple’s mind, he had all this important earthly business to attend to, before he could give himself to answer the call to follow and serve Jesus. His personal excuse was his father – he wanted to go bury him. Firstly, this was a poor excuse, because in the Middle Eastern heat, the dead were buried on the same day that they died. If his father was already dead, he wouldn’t be hanging out with Jesus or anyone else; he would’ve been at home and attending the funeral. It’s more likely that he was referring not to the fact that his father was already dead, but that he had to go home to take care of his father until the old man died. He wasn’t asking Jesus for permission to attend his father’s funeral, but rather for permission to delay serving Jesus until later.
Perhaps he was the firstborn son and he wanted to be sure to receive his inheritance. Perhaps he didn’t want his father to disinherit him or give his inheritance to a younger brother or family member while he was gone. Perhaps he didn’t want his father to be angry at him for abandoning the family business to follow a traveling preacher. Many people choose not to serve God or give Him their all, out of fear of financial insecurity, or family disapproval, or friends abandoning them. Some people want to finish a worldly pursuit or accomplish all their natural goals before they follow the call. In their minds, they can’t do their business and serve God at the same time. However, if you are called to business, you are also still called to serve God in your business. He gives you principles that will bring you success and if you make Him Lord of your business, He will bless it. I’ve had someone, who was on their way into military service, tell me that they couldn’t give their life to Jesus until they came out. If ever you needed Jesus, it would be in a fox hole!
This disciple could have gone back to take care of family business with a plan to follow Jesus later, but his father might have lived ten more years, but Jesus was only around for about 3 and ½ years. While he was hanging out at home, he would have missed out on being with Jesus for those few years. There wasn’t any way that he could have caught up or made up the time. The opportunity he missed would be forever lost. Some people SAY that they want to follow Jesus, but in their heart they don’t truly want to follow Him – so they find any excuse not to.
Whatever his reason, this disciple did not want to commit himself to Jesus just yet. Jesus, however, would not accept his excuse. Jesus answers him with these surprising words: “Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead!” How can people who are dead bury dead people? Jesus isn’t referring to physically dead people – he is referring to spiritually dead people. Ephesians 2:1 AMP says, “And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins.” He is saying: Leave the spiritually dead to bury their physically dead. Spiritually dead people see only what is in front of them and they work all their lives for things that will perish, but spiritually alive people see into eternity and they know that only those things that matter in eternity matter at all!
Jesus never beat around the bush with anyone. He was always very direct and honest with anyone who wanted to follow Him. He always made sure they counted the cost, evaluated their priorities, and laid aside any conditions they might have for following Him. Jesus demands full loyalty and obedience – nothing else can take priority over Him and serving Him. There are so many things that compete for our affections and loyalty, but nothing should be placed above our total commitment to living for Jesus.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. Matthew 16:24 AMP
Jesus asks us to bury all attachments to earthly things now – not later – and, whatever else we do, make eternity our priority. When we decide to fully give ourselves to following Jesus, we need to “die” to all our own ambitions and desires, but God’s plans for us are far greater than the ones we have for ourselves. The Lord has plans for us that will exceed our wildest dreams. It’s only in dying to the things of earth, that we are made alive in the things of Heaven!
Your life is not guaranteed. You could step over into eternity at any time. The best choice you can make for your life is to fully follow and serve God today with all your heart!