Friday, 19 February 2016

“I will follow you, but…”

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go” (Luke 9:57)

Here is a ‘Discipleship’ sentence of urgency for the Church season of Lent. Charles John Ellicott wrote, “There is, so to speak, a ‘NOW’ running through the ages. For each church and nation, for each individual soul, there is a golden present which may never again recur.”

This was such a moment in Luke’s Gospel chapter 9. So much had already happened! Up came three prospective recruits for Jesus. Seemingly none of them would make it. .

1. An example of hasty discipleship.
“Wherever you go” – here is an unsolicited commitment! Matthew 8:19 tells us that he was a devout intellectual - a teacher of the Law. Better, surely than Levi the grubby taxman, or Peter the non-academic fisherman? But no – Jesus recognises in this man a touch of recklessness… or of the bandwagon? But there’s to be no snug comfort zone for the Son of Man (v.58). Think again!

2. An example of conditional discipleship.
“First let me go and bury my father” (v.59). It sounds reasonable…. but this typical middle-east phraseology could well have born the implication that the father wasn’t dead yet! Lesson: You can’t choose the moment or convenient circumstance to decide for Christ; it will never be convenient. Think again!

3. An example of hesitant discipleship. “Let me say Goodbye to my family!” (v.61). Jesus replied that no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. Did He detect compromise in this response, a desire to ‘look back’ before making the great Decision?

Think again! – for Love’s sake…. and for Truth’s sake. The best reason for becoming a disciple is that Christ – and Christianity – are true!