Do We Really Desire to Follow Jesus?

By Steven Chan

1. In Luke 9:57-62, the Bible records for our learning what Jesus said to those who expressed their desire to follow Him:-

“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Here’s what we learn from the above account:-

2. Following Jesus will not be easy – even “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”. It will be a tough road ahead. Often, some have misunderstood the statement of Jesus in Matt 11:30, “for My yoke is easy and My burden is light” to mean that we have no yoke or burden at all. We have still got to carry our cross: Jesus said: “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27) But compared to the yoke and burden of the world, we “consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18)

3. Following Jesus requires one to prioritize spiritual matters of the kingdom above earthly obligations – “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of God will have to take precedence and urgency. There are many who can do the work of this world but there are very few labourers in the vineyard of the Lord (Matt 9:37).

4. Following Jesus requires immediate commitment to the urgency of the work – one ought not to prioritize other things above His calling – such as “let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house” – it is not something that we can “take our own sweet time” to do. After Paul was baptized, the Bible recorded thus: “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20). He did not delay his service to God.

Some have said that they will devote their lives to the preaching of the gospel once they have made adequate provisions for their families (financially secure) or upon their “retirement” from their secular employment. 

The reality is that if one does not realize the urgency of the work of the kingdom then one falls short as a disciple of Christ. The Bible tells us that when the church at Jerusalem was persecuted, its members were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. But “those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Many have achieved financial security and also have “retired” from their secular employment – but are they actively preaching the gospel? If the work can be delayed then, it can be delayed now! 

If we have delayed our service to God then it is high time that we truly repent from our procrastination, and start without any further delay. We do not have “all the time in the world” to do His work.

5. Following Jesus means that we should not look back to the things of the world – “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. One who looks back to the world does not possess the mind-set required as a member of the kingdom of God. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). Jesus said in Matt 6:24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (wealth).”

Let’s persevere in following Jesus and doing the will of God (1 Cor 15:58). “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37 “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb 10: 36-39)