April 19, 2012

Wherever You Go! Really?

Matthew 8:18-22

A teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
—Matthew 8:19


Jesus’ ministry was flourishing. He had healed many people of their diseases and had driven evil spirits out of many others. The crowds were amazed and followed him.

Before Jesus left that day, two would-be followers came running up to him. One said, without any excuses, “I will follow you wherever you go.” The other offered to follow as well, but said, “First let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus knew their hearts (see Luke 6:8). The first, a teacher of the law, was probably too eager. Maybe he figured that being with Jesus would be good for his résumé. Jesus’ answer indicates that we should not expect earthly gain from following him. We must count the cost.

The second would-be follower was too hesitant or just lying. Could he really expect Jesus to wait for him till after a funeral? And if his father had died, what was the man doing here? Perhaps he thought Jesus would give him a pat on the back for his pious efforts. Jesus’ answer was not unkind but straightforward. We must be fully committed.

Jesus’ answers here boil down to this: Jesus alone must have first place in the lives of his followers, everywhere and anytime. On the cross he gave up everything for us. He deserves the right to ask everything of us—and he does.

Lord, forgive us for forgetting about your cross at times and thinking we can find easier ways to follow you. Thank you for your promise to be with us always. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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