Pastor Travis Burkett
At the end of Luke 9, we were introduced to the three people who seem eager to follow Jesus until following Jesus wasn’t what they were expecting The first man said: God, I will follow you wherever. Until the place that Jesus asked him to go would take the comfort he currently had. We discover that this man knew Jesus was but didn’t actually follow Jesus. This man heard Jesus’ response and left silent.
Today, we are going to talk about the second person. He said whenever. This is what Jesus said in Luke 9:59-60: “And he said unto another, Follow me.” The wannabe follower said: “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” "Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”
In this passage, we see a second man give an excuse to Jesus instead of passionately following Jesus. We see that he took what Jesus said as a suggestion, not a command. When Jesus says follow me, He is asking: What about now? We see this man give an excuse as to why now wasn’t a good time. This is something Jesus has said multiple times in the Gospels. Yet the Bible shows us that multitudes assembled near Jesus but only a few truly followed Jesus. Jesus spoke to Peter: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” To Matthew: “…He said unto him, follow me.” To Phillip: “…and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.” In John, He says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” We see throughout scripture, that Jesus calls individuals to follow Him.
We see those passionate about following but some chose to take His words as suggestions. Jesus tells His own people of Nazareth that the scriptures were fulfilled but they rejected Him. We see ten lepers fulfill an initial command to get up but only one came back to find Jesus. In the Gospels, we see a crowd cry to release Barabbas and watch Jesus die on a cross. We see some start revival and others choose to reject Him. We see some know Him but only a few follow Him. It appears that this man was willing to follow but it just wasn’t a good time.
I mean, come on, it seems like this person has a logical excuse. “Let me bury my father.” Isn’t it a bit hardcore for Jesus to say: “Let the dead bury the dead?” Culturally, this person’s father was still alive. He was actually saying: Hey Jesus, when my parents die, I will follow You. It’s not that this man isn’t willing but it was just bad timing. He wanted to follow but He wasn’t ready to take the step. I’m afraid that there are a lot of people who are content with a half-hearted relationship with Jesus because they have every intention of one day actually committing to Jesus.
He said not now but it most likely will become never. I believe that the most dangerous part of following Jesus later isn’t what you can lose between now and then (although there is great loss). The worst thing is that tomorrow might never come. Think about it, remember when you felt guilty or embarrassed over that thing that you’re holding (maybe it’s anger, an addiction, lust, language, etc.). When it first blossomed, you felt convicted and dirty but as time passed you went from feeling bad to excusing it. It didn’t take long till the guilt and conviction were completely gone.
I’ve been married for almost six years. Now I am happily married, but I’m not a perfect husband. In fact, I can be decently selfish. After almost six years, I’ve figured some things out. Some have helped me become unselfish while others have helped me become more selfish. For example, if Tess asks me to do something that I really don’t want to do. I’ll say, "Okay, Babe, I'll do it in a minute…" About 30 minutes later, she will say, "Travis, did you do it?" Then I will respond, "Oh, I’ll do it in a minute." Pretty soon, she will do it herself because she is tired of dealing with me. Now, she may be upset, but I didn’t have to do what I didn’t want to do. See: the more we treat God with an 'I’ll follow Him later' attitude, the less likely we will actually follow God.
Friend, God’s mission is too big for us to play around with the purpose that God has for our lives. Hebrews 3:15 says this: “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…”