JESUS ABOVE ALL ELSE
Precious Savior, there is no greater love than yours for me, no grace as extraordinary as yours toward me, no mercy more profoundly expressed than that which I receive from you. My response of thanksgiving seems paltry by comparison; there are no words of praise that seem adequate, but please accept them, as they come from the depth of my heart.
Read LUKE 9:51-62
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[a]?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
- Luke 9:54 Some manuscripts them, just as Elijah did
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is your motivation in following Jesus? Is it just about being friends with the One who can make things happen the way you want them to? Well, what is it about then?
The Samaritans aren’t going to help anyone get to Jerusalem (vs 52,53), the religious and cultural center of the Jews they despise so much. ‘So let’s burn them up, Jesus!’ his headstrong disciples advise (v 54), thinking the Samaritans deserve it and knowing that Jesus can easily do it. ‘Let’s not,’ says Jesus, maybe thinking that he’s come to save Samaritans too (John 4:39-42) and knowing that their destruction is not what a life of selfless sacrifice looks like.
Now enter three guys who seem to be doing the right thing—thinking seriously about following Jesus. The first (v 57) is eager and committed enough but maybe just wants to do the popular, ‘cool’ thing and doesn’t realize there’ll be a high price to pay. The second (vs 59,60) learns that Jesus must come first—it’s no good wanting to sort out life first, including family, and then maybe one day getting around to following Jesus. And for the third (vs 61,62), Jesus knows that emotional family farewells might indicate someone whose heart will never totally be his.
These verses are easy enough as long as they’re about these three guys—but suppose they’re also about our following Jesus? That makes them much harder to take, if we really think about it.
Lord Jesus, I confess that there are times when I am not single-hearted in my devotion to you, when my focus is more on myself than you. Forgive my wandering and help my thoughts and actions reflect the unwavering commitment you have to me.
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