The Walk: Week 4 – Day 4, “Excuses, Part 2”.
In Luke 9 Jesus encounters three people, three examples of people who seem to have some issue or even excuse when it comes to following Christ. We looked at the first example yesterday. Let’s look at the second and third today.
The second example is in verse 59. In this case Jesus comes and says, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” In verse 60 Jesus says, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Jesus’ reply seems harsh but it is obvious he is trying to make a point because the dead cannot literally bury anyone. So what is he saying and what is his point? There has been a lot of speculation about this verse, some have said the father wasn’t dead yet and the man wanted to wait until his death and receive the inheritance. Maybe that was the case but we don’t know. In many passages the Bible encourages us to take care of family obligations. But what Jesus is stressing here is that you have to clearly commit to put following him, obedience to him and your part in his mission to the world above every other human relationship and social obligation. He has to come first.
How can we honor our legitimate family relationships and responsibilities to friends without allowing them to take priority over Christ as Lord?
What kind of circumstances in life might requires us to put Christ above other relationship and responsibilities? Can you think of a specific example?
How might we best handle those situations with wisdom?
The third example is in verse 61. It says, Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” In 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.” To plow a straight row you have to be completely focused on that priority. If you start looking around or look back you drift off course. When he says unless you maintain your focused commitment you aren’t fit for the kingdom, the word fit doesn’t mean worthy. It means appropriate. No one is worthy of the kingdom or ever could be. It’s all the grace of God that you can come to Christ and experience new life and receive forgiveness. What Jesus is saying is unless following Christ is the highest priority, more than your standard of living, or family commitments, you may not really be believing in him and you certainly won’t be able to follow Him. Your inadequate commitment to the king doesn’t fit the supremacy of his kingdom and his claims on your life and your claim to know him.
What Jesus does in these stories is teach us that it doesn’t matter what our excuses are, we have to lay them all at his feet and follow him.
Continue reading the Bible. Keep reading the gospel of John. If you are reading a lot and finish John consider reading Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians or Luke. Or ask the group or person you are doing The Walk with to make suggestions. The important thing is to try to be consistent in your reading. Write down your questions, thoughts and insights as you read. Don’t forget to review your memory verse from last week and this week.