March 23, 2018

Fit to Follow Jesus

Luke 9:57-62

No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

—  Luke 9:62

For Jesus, not only the journey required a diligent focus; so did the ultimate goal—a horrible death by crucifixion on a cross. Jesus removed any doubt about the difficulties of the journey by telling someone who wanted to follow him that this meant no rest and no bed. He told someone else that following him meant sacrificing time with his grieving family. Would you follow Jesus under those conditions?

If you’re planning a long trip—say, to Prague or Machu Picchu, you’re likely to do a lot of advance planning. But if you’re willing to pay the price, you go. Grumbling about the cost once you’re in the air is pointless. Similarly, it’s only natural for Jesus to tell his disciples at the beginning of this journey to Jerusalem what it will cost them.

Of course, it’s a high and demanding price—and Jesus makes all the decisions. You don’t get to choose accommodations or to take time off for family obligations. You must simply follow Jesus, on his terms.

The cost of following Jesus means dying to our own desires and placing him ahead of everything else: comfort, family, friends, career, ideals—even our life on this earth. Only when we have unburdened ourselves of all earthly concerns will we be fit to follow and serve Jesus.

Thank you, Lord, for detailing the cost of the journey, and for paying the price for us with your own life. Help us to willingly serve you. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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