As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62 ESV)
There is a scene in the movie, “A Few Good Men” where Jack Nicolson’s character, being hounded by the prosecution, breaks down on the stand into a snarling rage. He say, “You want the truth, you can’t handle the truth.” I think Jesus would disagree. He gives you the whole unvarnished truth, good or bad.
Look at how Jesus handles all three interactions with new, potential disciples. He doesn’t pull punches, does He? Jesus lays out and explains all the “fine print” and “hidden costs” that people often plead ignorance to later on when things don’t work out their way in their “walk with Christ.” He doesn’t lure them in with everything they want to hear and then yanking the rug out from under them later on, giving them something else, or nothing. Jesus tells it exactly like it is. His Way is the way of the cross. Know it up front and do not ever be deceived.
None of these men ever responded to Jesus’ truth. Luke never tells us what they said or what they did after hearing Jesus’ Truth. Maybe that got mad and stormed off. Maybe they heard the truth and listened. Maybe Jesus’ harsh word of Law got through and brought them to life and joy in the Gospel. We don’t know. We’re never told. And there’s good reason for that. Jesus is still holding this lesson out to you.
This isn’t a history lesson about three guys who lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. This is about you. This is about me. This is about our daily lies, excuses, and sinful realities. The reason the responses are left out is because the response is still happening in your life. The question is still being asked of you. Will you follow, or is the cost too high?
In studying God’s Word, in hearing, marking and learning, God’s perfect Word, we learn that God the Holy Spirit is working in us to create, sustain, and grow faith.
In faith we recognize that the reality of salvation isn’t about what we’ll do for Jesus, it’s about what He has done for us. He is the One who fulfills all things, and has made you worthy by giving you His glory. Because of Him, you are counted as a perfect disciple of your Lord. The cost of our salvation was certainly high. It cost the life of the Son of God.
Jesus did not simply show you the right path and expect you to follow it on your own. He walked the path for you, and when He was done, He turned around and declared you His perfect disciple for simply trusting in Him. Do not be deceived. The real cost of faithful discipleship is not what you pay for simply believing in Christ. The real cost is what Christ has paid for you in order to make you part of His family.
What a joy to know that the cost has been paid and that even now the Holy Spirit is working in you to help you grow in faith and joy. What a joy to know the truth, the whole truth, and know that through the Holy Spirit’s continued work we follow Jesus’ more and more easily, no questions asked.