There are some harsh things being said by Jesus in today’s reading, didn’t you think? I suppose his frustration is coming through. He may be experiencing some of the same feelings that movie stars and people in the limelight often encounter. They have to have bodyguards and people to diffuse the masses. Clearly, Jesus wanted some alone time.
We all need that alone time. Especially introverts. They are recharged from solitude while extroverts are energized by being around people. Jesus was needing to spend time with his Father I’m guessing. The alone time we all should seek is spending time with God, reading his word, reflecting, praying. When we can actually slow down and listen, God will speak to us, too.
So what about what Jesus said? He didn’t sugar coat his message at all. He was brutally honest with the man who wanted to follow him anywhere. Jesus needed to make sure he knew it was not a life full of creature comforts. There was no home to go to, no hot meal waiting, no servants to wait on him hand and foot.
Why do you think Jesus was that blunt with the religious teacher? And even another disciple wanted to take a leave of absence to bury his father. Why was Jesus so callous? Let the [spiritually] dead bury their own dead. How does that even happen and what does it mean? Bottom line, it means, NO, you can’t go bury your father.
The cost of following Jesus is high. There are no perks of earthly comfort. You will likely have to leave your family behind because they don’t have the same desire to follow. Are you ready to give it all up and follow Jesus not knowing what tomorrow brings? Even today we are often separated from our loved ones because our faith calls us in a different direction.
We all hope and pray that our loved ones will see Jesus the same as we do. We want them to have a desire to build their relationship with Jesus, even if it is hard. The old song, “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden” comes to mind. Jesus never promises a life free of struggle. He does promise us a heavenly future with him free from struggle, strife, where all our sins have been forgiven.
Jesus is being honest. By not sugar coating what it takes to be his follower, he is not deceiving us. We’ve all experienced something that was told us to be “the best thing since sliced bread” or “too good to be true,” right? What happens? We get disillusioned and end up hurt or disappointed. Jesus wants us to know what we’re getting into. That’s how I see it. He’s not being unloving at all as some might suggest.
These potential recruits into Jesus’ circle are flawed, as we are flawed. One is over eager and the other under eager. Even in our churches today, we see people who are going through the motions, showing up, even serving on committees, but where are their priorities? Have they had a life-changing encounter with Jesus? Have they sacrificed something to show their devotion? Are they ready to be hated by the world for their faithfulness?
Wrestle with this today. How can you be a better follower of Christ? Are you ready to pay the price?
Let’s pray. Lord, your love for us is without bounds. Thank you for your honesty. I know that following you may not be a walk in the park, but it is so much richer. I look forward to growing our relationship each and every day. I long to hear your voice directing my path. I know that the more I listen, the more I’ll hear. Thank you for loving me so much! In Jesus name. Amen.