Daily D – Luke 9:57
As they were traveling on the road someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
LUKE 9:57 (CSB)
Among the pioneers of soft rock, Seals and Crofts released the album Diamond Girl in 1973. One of the singles from that album was We May Never Pass This Way (Again). Jesus was at the point of no return. He would never walk these paths again. He set his face like flint for Jerusalem and the suffering, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension that lay before him (verse 51).
If anyone wanted to join the team of disciples, if anyone wanted to commit themselves to him, it was time to step up. And so someone did. “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus’ response may sound unusual for someone recruiting a team. He said, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head,” (verse 58). How are we to understand what Jesus meant? The Message paraphrase is insightful and helpful:
This was no vacation, no coronation, no pleasure cruise. This was humiliation and death. This was violence and earthquakes. This was torture and terror.
When you put it that way, it is easy to find an excuse not to go. And so Jesus said to another, “Follow me,” (verse 59). This man, however, had a father who was still alive. After he died, then he would consider Jesus’ invitation. This is a long and circuitous manner of politely saying, “No.”
Someone else stepped up and said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house,” (verse 61). Jesus responded, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God,” (verse 62). By the time his farewell party was over, so would the events that would begin setting the world right-side up.
The matter of first importance for the first man in this triumvirate of would-be followers was comfort. If Jesus was going to be recognized and crowned as king, he was all in. He was ready for a position in the court.
The matter of first importance for the second man was timing. One day Jesus would take priority in his life. Today, however, was not that day.
The matter of first importance for the third man was the tyranny of the urgent. Saying goodbye to the old way of life was more important than welcoming a whole new world.
The cross and all that lay beyond it would no longer wait. John’s Gospel is full of the saying, “His time had not yet come.” Now his time had come. No delay, no matter how meaningful or honorable, would stop what was about to take place in Jerusalem. A king was about to be crowned with thorns. His royal robes would be soaked with his own blood. His life would end exalted on a cruel cross.
He would not pass this way again.
Evangelists love telling this story and asking, “Is this the last time Jesus will pass this way for you? Is this the last time you will have the opportunity to join him in heaven?” Good questions deserving good answers.
Again, there is a prior question: To you, who is Jesus? That makes all the difference regarding how you respond to situations like those above. If he is God with Us (Emmanuel) and you get to accompany him on a journey that changes the shape of the whole world for good, what could possibly hold you back?
We do not, thankfully, have to make the decisions those men that day had to make. We do, however, get to make the decision today to say Yes to Jesus and join him on his journey, on his mission, to set things right. We get to do it where we are. We get to do it with those we love most. We get to do it in the rhythms and routines of ordinary life. Because of those fateful days in Jerusalem, we get to live as citizens of heaven and invite others into the family.
One day it will be too late to make this choice. One day we will realize how foolish it was to delay the best decision of our lives for even a moment. One day far too many will exist with eternal regret. Today is a good day, now is a good time, to join the King of all Kings in the joy that awaited him on the other side of the cross (Hebrews 12:1, 2). His joy can be yours.
Let’s check-in again. To you, who is Jesus?
I will follow Jesus into joy.
Our Father, nothing is more important than you. What you want, I want, too. Where you lead, I will follow. What you want to do through me is how I want to live and serve. I gladly step into your joy. Amen.
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2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 33:15, 16 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.
Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”