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Seeing JESUS: part 5

Posted: February 9, 2019 in Seeing JESUS part 5

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 The cost of following Jesus

“Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side. A scribe came, and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”   Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”    Matthew 8:18-22

Jesus sees a great crowd who had come to see and hear Him. See had come to see a spectacle; some to see other people being healed; some wanted to be healed themselves; some wanted to hear His words; some believed in Him. Jesus knows the intentions and thoughts of every heart. He told His disciples to go to the other side of the lake and he remained to spend time with His father and pray.

A religious leader came to Him and told Jesus he would follow Him everywhere he went. He was dedicated to Jesus and wanted to keep in His presence and learn from him. The Scribe called Jesus “Teacher” so he recognized that Jesus was different from other teachers he had heard.

Again, Jesus sees the intentions of this man’s heart. Jesus seeks to show the man the reality of what the man is seeking.

Life following Jesus will cost you…

 Jesus tells him that the foxes that live wild in the countryside have homes to go to. The foxes that are lowly and untamed animals have got a place to rest and stay and find shelter. Also the birds of the air have nests where they can find safe roosting, bring up their young and shelter from predators. But, says Jesus, I have nowhere to lay my head. Jesus has no home, no place of safety, no certain place to find rest, no certainty of any of the necessities of life. He felt no need of them, because he knew His father in heaven would provide all he needed.

Those who follow Jesus can expect the same kind of standard in this world. The Christian finds trouble in this world. The Christian lives every day in the faith that keeps them alive to God.

There is no response from this man, and we have no record of him joining the twelve disciples. The cost is great. The cost means giving up the right to everything. We must consider this before we choose the way of Christ. Jesus is not looking for people who put their hand up in a meeting, or people who think He is going to meet every need they think they have. The way of the cross is difficult, severe and can only be walked in the power of the Spirit. We cannot keep our salvation. No matter how we might think we can.

A disciple overhears this conversation. It seems to happen as they are leaving for the lake. The disciple asks Jesus for permission to go and bury his father. Some comment that the father was not yet dead! But the disciples is being honourable and truthful in asking this request. He needs to go and work out his family responsibilities to his dead father.

Jesus reply seems very strict and unyielding. Jesus tells the disciple to let someone else bury the dead. Let the people who are of this world and dead to God, do the things of this world. Jesus tells this disciple to “Follow me.”

“Follow me..”

is the price to pay for a God-orientated life in this stricken world. We do not belong to it and we are servants of Christ and not our own. There are always people who can do the earth bound things, the necessities of this world’s culture and social expectations. But the Christian has another agenda.

This is why we count the cost.

Too many start off well, but when the difficulties come and the real sacrificial way of life comes into our understanding, we back off. We want the blessings, but not the thorns and the pains of growing and saying “goodbye” to this world’s treasures.

We cannot follow Jesus and still hold on to worldly pleasures.

It sounds so hard a saying and impossible to do, and it is, without the Spirit of God, changing us and making us able to do things we cannot do. As we walk the pilgrim pathway, we walk in the power of God. He changes our desires to be like His desires, and we will have the pleasure and joy of knowing Jesus and walking with Him every day of our lives.

Some have no appetite for that prospect, and show their lack of love for Christ and careless attitude to a relationship with Him.

The Scribe at least came to Jesus and wanted to follow. Maybe he did follow and gave up his religious job and earth orientated views. Maybe he was willing to suffer loss for the sake of Jesus and was ready for a life of sacrifice. If he did follow, he is enjoying the presence of the Lord right now in heaven. We can be sure he never for a moment regrets leaving his sinful life and following His Master and Teacher.

Lord, help me to count the cost of following you and I will willingly follow you. You are my Saviour and I trust you, because of who you are. Give me the strength dear Lord, to keep following to the end of the pathway…