Summary: Three people think they wanna be a follower of Jesus; but, only when it is convenient for them to do so.
Luke 9: 51 – 62 Wanna Be Followers
Intro: Sinclair Lewis, the great 20th century writer was once scheduled to a give an hour-long speech about writing to a group of college students who planned to be writers. Lewis stepped to the podium and asked a question: “How many of you want to be writers?” Nearly every hand in the audience went up. “Then, Go home and write.” That said, Sinclair Lewis left the podium and went home. --- The point he so dramatically made was that there is a great difference between involvement and commitment. Example: It’s like a bacon and egg breakfast. The hen is involved. The pig is committed. (Illustrations from “The Source of Wit and Wisdom published by Communication Resources.)
I. Verse 57 – “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.” Impulsive, caught up in the excitement.
A. I saw the red and blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. “Not again!” I thought to myself. As I pulled the car to the side of the road and stopped my son, Jon who was about 5 said, “You’re in trouble now.” --- This would be my 3rd speeding ticket in a month. – Quickly I prayed to myself, “Lord, if you get me out of this one, I’ll never speed again.”
B. Verse 58 – “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Jesus urges the man to think about what he is saying.
C. Before you leap over the puddle, be sure you can land safely on the other side. Count the cost. --- The cost = self-denying devotion to the kingdom of God and nothing else.
II. Verse 59 – “He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But the man replied, ‘Lord, first let me go bury my father.”
A. These are the people I like to call the “YES BUTTERS!” You know the person. They are the ones who have a million and one reasons why they can’t do what you ask right then. “I’d love to but . . .”
B. “First, let me . . . “ seems like a reasonable request. But, there are two possible scenarios: 1) the man’s father wasn’t even dead yet. 2) his father had been buried but there was the need for a second funeral. – custom was to bury a person, then return in a year to gather up the bones and put them in a niche in the wall of the tomb to make room for another.
C. It could be quite some time before this man actually followed. It was the duty of every devout Jew to see that their parents were buried properly. Jesus’ answer “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” SPIRITUAL DEATH RESULTED FROM NOT FOLLOWING JESUS AND SERVING GOD. “Let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead.”
III. Verse 61 – “Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.’” I’ll follow; but first I’ve got to take care of my family. A “but first” gets you a “don’t bother.”
A. Sounds like a reasonable request and quite a simple thing to do. Would you deny a soldier going to war one last chance to bid his or her loved ones farewell?
B. Verse 62 – “Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Jesus clearly sets out the cost of following Him. YOU LEAVE NOW AND YOU DON’T LOOK BACK. YOU’VE PICKED UP THE PLOW AND IF YOU ARE PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO THE FOLKS BACK HOME, THEN I DON’T NEED YOU.
C. John Stott wrote, “The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers – the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.”
Conclu: Most people put God off saying, “God you know I have all these good reasons that I cannot lay my life at your feet and follow and trust you. God, can’t you wait just a little while longer? Let me get my life in order and then I can do whatever you ask of me.” --- All three people in this story were rejected by Jesus and for good reasons: one was rejected for thinking more about self than following, the second was more concerned with satisfying other obligations before following, and the third was more concerned about family than having a relationship with Christ. Do you see yourself in this story? If so, what are you going to do about it?