Summary: A true disciple must be willing to sacrifice
Teacher, I Will Follow Wherever You Go
Matthew 8:18-22 “18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."
20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
It should not surprise us that Jesus decides to take leave of the place where He is. That there were great multitudes were of little consequence. There were great multitudes wherever He went. He taught with a great power and authority. And He was a compassionate healer. There had been no one like Him, before Him. In the previous verses it says that Jesus cast out spirits and healed all who were sick. As people traveled about, the news of the man who was preaching and healing preceded Him, and it did not take long for people to gather when He arrived. So, even though there were probably many more hoping to get near Him, He gave orders to prepare to leave. Jesus did not come to save and heal one town full of people or even one hundred towns full. He came to save and heal all who would come to Him. The gospel message, the good news of salvation and reconciliation having come, was for all men. And so, setting the example for the twelve that were to receive the commission to go into all the world, Jesus does not stay long in one place. And as He moves from one place to another, those willing to become disciples are sifted from the crowd that follows Him to get what they can from Him. Today, again, we will see the price that Christs’ disciples must be prepared to pay to truly take up their cross, and follow Him.
There were many who would follow Him as long as it was convenient. But the reality that Christ presented to those that asked to follow Him had a purifying effect; when you see true disciples of Jesus, you will always find people ready and willing to give up whatever it takes to stay with Him. Those not willing to make that kind of sacrifice soon fall by the wayside.
18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."
This man was a scribe. He was an educated man, one who by profession spent hours going over the Law of Moses, studying and teaching. We see them most times in the New Testament associated with the Pharisees. And most of the time, they were at odds with Jesus. But this one is apparently ready to put his differences behind him. It seems that he has seen and heard the truth and has been so affected by it, that he is ready to come fully to Jesus. His enthusiasm is to be commended. “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” This, it would seem, is just the kind of commitment that would please Jesus, and we would expect this scribe to be gladly accepted into the fold. But Christ here gives not only a warning to this man, but also to all of us: not all who come running to Christ have the kind of faith that it takes to truly make one a disciple. Some come because they have seen a miracle. Some come just for what they can get from Jesus. Here is what Christ said to this man: 20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
This was a discouraging statement. It was not the kind of statement one would make if they were seeker friendly. This is not the kind of statement you would make to someone, if church growth were your aim.
If we are to follow the examples that Christ lays out for us, what can we learn here? Just this; when someone comes running to Jesus, the first thing He tells them is this; it takes a willingness to sacrifice whatever is necessary to follow me. If you want to follow me, be prepared; we will not be staying at the nicest hotels. Jesus was not concerned about His comfort, and His true followers are to be like Him.
The Danish philospher Kierkagaard in a paper entitled "And I looked around and nobody was laughing" says this, "I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, "If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me." Kierkagaard was making fun of this rich church with the velvet pews, the minister dressed in a velvet robe, standing there reading the words of Jesus so solemnly; "If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me."