FOLLOWERS OR FANS? (LUKE 9:57-62)
The backdrop to this passage is that the Samaritans did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. The messengers had entered into a village of the Samaritans, but were publicly and promptly turned back (Luke 9:52-53). Also, Matt 8:19-21 tells us that the first person is a scribe and the second a disciple.
One of my coworker has a Whatsapp image that impressed my wife too. A huge fan of Manchester United, his phone image is a club badge blazing with fire on the sides. It was so striking that I searched for it on the internet in vain.
What is a fan? A fan is one who is devoted to a person, team or a thing in the realm of sports, entertainment or personality. Today¡¦s fans display their affection to the object of their affection on the internet and other forms of social media. Fans buy their products, publicize their loyalty and drive the celebrities¡¦ success. The problem with a fan is that the intensity does not last. After the glitter, glamor and glory fade, the fan transfers his allegiance and attention to another. Nobody follows a shooting star.
A follower, on the other hand, is there for the long haul. I am still a supporter of Leeds Football Club that played in the less glamorous Championship (one level short of the Premier League). They were great in the 70s but now they are stuck in the championship league for many years and even dropped two divisions at one time. For a long time in the States I had no information on how they were doing, but I tracked their progress once Internet flourishes.
Jesus did not call us to be fans, but followers of Him. The Transfiguration in Luke 9 is the turning point of the book, separating and distinguishing fans from followers. The word ¡§glory¡¨ appears three times in the chapter (Luke 9:26, 31, 32) - more than any chapter in Luke, but the city of Jerusalem is mentioned three times (vv 31, 51, 53) as well. Peter, James and John saw His glory (v 32), but Jerusalem was also the scene of Jesus¡¦ suffering, rejection and death (v 22, 31). Jesus was ¡§resolute¡¨ (v 51) or ¡§steadfast¡¨ (KJV) to go to Jerusalem.
The first man offered to follow Jesus in the future tense (v 57), but he did not understand His resolve or requirement. Jesus was not going to Jerusalem to be crowned, but to be crucified. A cross, and not a coronation, awaited him. At the end of the journey was persecution and not popularity, rejection and not reception, execution and not exaltation
The verbs ¡§suffer,¡¨ ¡§reject¡¨ and ¡§kill¡¨ (v 22) appear for the first time in the Gospel of Luke. The Son of man will not only suffer, but suffer ¡§many¡¨ things (Matt 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22). It won¡¦t be light, lenient or likable. It was a must (v 22), not a maybe.
Fox holes (v 58) are a certainty in the wild. Foxes are known to make homes from other animals¡¦ dens. Birds have nests. They have caves, cubs and choices. Do you know when sparrows can nest in sand, banks and roads. On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was not afforded the same kind of shelter, safety or security.
Jesus called us to count the cost, carry the cross, and continue in commitment, not to follow only when the weather is fine, the times are good and the passage is smooth.
Commit to Proclaim Christ Above All
59 He said to another man, ¡§Follow me.¡¨ But he replied, ¡§Lord, first let me go and bury my father.¡¨ 60 Jesus said to him, ¡§Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.¡¨
You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated:
Christmas (Sunday before or after)
New Year (Party lasted too long)
Easter (Get away for holidays)
July 4 (National holiday)
Labor Day (Need to get away)
Memorial Day (Visit hometown)
School Closing (Kids need break)
School Opens (One last fling)
Family Reunions (Mine & wife¡¦s)
Sleep late (Saturday night activities)
Deaths in Family
Anniversary (Second honeymoon)
Sickness (One per family member)
Business Trips (A must)
Vacation (Three weeks)
Bad Weather (Ice, snow, rain, clouds)
Unexpected Company (Can¡¦t walk out)
Time changes (Spring ahead; fall back)
Special on TV (Super Bowl, etc.)
Pastor, that leaves only two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the fourth Sunday in February and the third Sunday in August unless providentially hindered.