Summary: From the Kingdom of God series. This message looks that the three men Jesus invites to follow and their excuses.
The Kingdom of God
“Not So Wise Men”
Many people are surprised when they read this particular section of Scripture and how Jesus was actually discouraging people from following Him. It also comes as a surprise to think that Jesus wasn’t as seeker friendly as many make Him out to be.
In our passage Jesus is behaving in a manner unlike anything we’re accustomed to. We do everything we can to attract people to come to church, but here Jesus is doing the exact opposite.
Read Luke 9: 57-62
The question becomes why did Jesus handle these three guys the way He did? Why did He say these things that seem harsh when we see this as an honest desire on their part to follow?
Mainly because they didn’t realize some truths about the Kingdom of God and Jesus wanted them to know exactly what they were doing and asking. And so it’s from Jesus’ response to their requests that we find out some really valuable information about the nature of God’s kingdom.
And just an FYI, these guys had been following Jesus for some time. They saw His miracles, listened to His teachings, and they are interested, but they still were unprepared to follow fully, and Jesus confronts them in these areas.
The First Guy
The first guy rushes up with great excitement proclaiming,
“Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” (Luke 9:57 KNJV)
He’s ready to leave it all behind and follow no matter the cost, or so it seems. Now if someone came up to me and said that he or she was ready to follow Jesus I’d say, “Great, what a blessing,” and encourage the heck out of that person. To me this is the type of man or woman the church needs, the sort who would make an excellent addition to God’s kingdom.
But not Jesus! Instead of welcoming this person Jesus rebuffs Him and if you would, discourages Him. We could say that Jesus stopped Him dead in his tracks.
This type of person is quite common. He was attracted to Jesus’ preaching and miracles. This conversation took place right after Jesus cast out the demonic spirit and healed a young boy. This first guy probably heard as well Jesus sending out the 12 disciples with the power to heal. Maybe he even heard what others said about how Jesus spoke with authority, and Jesus saying that the Kingdom that was about to come.
Jesus presented something new and fascinating, not like the old stuffy religion he grew up in, so he was all in.
I remember a similar occurrence. A gal had experienced a miracle, and her son, who was a believer, saw the miracle and wanted to follow in the same way that this guy in the story did. He signed up for seminary but quickly became discourage and quit.
It’s a picture of an idealist. A person who wants to do good, seeing the misery and unhappiness in the world, but not prepared for what lies ahead. They see only what is on the surface, the excitement and success.
And lest we think that Jesus only had these words for this guy, He said much the same to the disciples who had started to argue amongst themselves as to who would be the greatest in this new and improved Kingdom Jesus was talking about.
“For he who is least among you all will be great.” (Luke 9:48b NKJV)
And so what we see are those who enter with great enthusiasm and zeal not realizing the cost, and later leave disappointed and discouraged because the Kingdom didn’t come in their timetable.
There’s an interesting statement Jesus made about the cost of discipleship. He begins by saying that if anyone who wants to follow after Him doesn’t hate what holds them back, including their family and even their own life, cannot be a disciple. (Luke 14:26)
And then Jesus said,
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28 NIV)
Many use this as a reason not to get involved in this or that ministry, but that isn’t what it means. A tower wasn’t a luxury; rather it was a necessity. And so the last thing that anyone wanted was a half-built tower. Instead they were to find out how much it would cost and then secure sufficient funds to finish.
We are to know the cost of discipleship, and then know it may cost our jobs, family, and even our lives. And then move forward with what God has called for us to do.
And this is what Jesus ended up telling this guy. He’s saying that the Kingdom of God is all about changed lives, and that to fulfill that mission it’s going to cost.