Summary: The analysis of the concept of discipleship in Luke 9:57-62 teaches us about the cost of following Jesus.
In the first nine chapters of The Gospel of Luke we have been introduced to the identity of Jesus as the Messiah sent by God to seek and to save the lost. From Luke 9:51 onwards Luke introduces us to Jesus’ teaching on discipleship.
Let’s read about discipleship in Luke 9:57-62:
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 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.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)
Every January, millions of Americans, brimming with optimism and a little extra belly from the holidays, commemorate the New Year by making an unfamiliar urban trek. They go to the gym. One in eight new members join their fitness club in January, and many gyms see a traffic surge of 30 to 50 percent in the first few weeks of the year. Stop by your local gym soon after January 1, and the ellipticals will be flush with new faces. But next thing you know, it will be April, our gym cards will be mocking us from our wallets, and our tummies will have sprouted, on cue with the spring buds.
Gym clubs make most of their money from two sorts of people: (1) absentee members and (2) super-users who pay not only the monthly fee but also for the add-ons, like trainers, classes, and even for the whey smoothies.
Unfortunately, most of us fall into the absentee member category. In January, our cup of willpower overflows. But by June, the odds that we have kept our New Year’s resolutions fall to under 40 percent.
Some people want to follow Jesus. You go to church and often even join the church. But, when it comes to following Jesus, are you an absentee member? Have you started with Jesus but slacked off?
Jesus is very clear that his followers cannot be absentee members. While the gift of eternal is absolutely free, following Jesus nevertheless costs everything a person is and has.
The analysis of the concept of discipleship in Luke 9:57-62 teaches us about the cost of following Jesus.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. A Disciple of Jesus Must Count the Cost (9:57-58)
2. A Disciple of Jesus Must Follow Immediately (9:59-60)
3. A Disciple of Jesus Must Not Look Back (9:61-62)
I. A Disciple of Jesus Must Count the Cost (9:57-58)
First, a disciple of Jesus must count the cost.
Luke said that as Jesus and his disciples were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go” (9:57).
A man wanted to become a follower of Jesus, a disciple. So, he went to Jesus and made a remarkable promise, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Why did the man make such a promise? Perhaps for the same reasons that many want to follow Jesus:
• He appreciated the good that Jesus did.
• He enjoyed the teaching of Jesus.
• He liked being with Jesus and his disciples.
• He wanted the blessings of following Jesus.
Whatever his reasons for wanting to follow Jesus, the reply of Jesus was pointed. 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” (9:58).
What was Jesus saying to the man? Jesus was saying that a disciple of Jesus must count the cost of following him. Jesus had nothing. He had no material comfort. He had no place to call home. He literally had only the clothes he wore. So, a follower of Jesus must be willing to give up everything, even personal comfort, in order to follow Jesus. Following Jesus involves self-denial and self-sacrifice.
Jesus, of course, was the prime example of self-denial and self-sacrifice. He had nothing, and even gave himself on the cross to pay for the sins of his followers.
Jesus insists that every disciple must count the cost of following him. A mere profession of faith in Jesus is not enough. A willingness to follow Jesus, like this man, is not enough. Remember, Jesus had already taught earlier in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”