The Realities of Discipleship – Part II

(2) “Most of the affairs of life must be given to others.”

And He said to another, “Follow Me.”  But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60)

We should consider the nature of this man’s request.  He was not asking to be excused from following Christ until he returned from a family vacation.  He was asking for permission to make arrangements for his father’s funeral.  Afterwards, he would follow Jesus.  This was no small responsibility this man believed was his to fulfill!  And no doubt, others did too.  But notice Jesus’ response:

“Let those who are spiritually dead bury those who are physically dead.”

That is, “As much as possible, let those who are of the world oversee the affairs of the world.  But as for you, devote your attention to the Great Commission.”

When one follows Jesus, he is going to find himself removed from what everyone else is busy doing.  Rather than giving himself to the many temporal affairs of a dead world, he is to offer all that he is and all that he has to advance the eternal affairs of Christ.

We are not told what this man chose to do.  But we can imagine what would have happened if he gave the oversight of his father’s burial to his “spiritually dead” relatives and followed Jesus.  No doubt, he would have been marked for life as the one who “abandoned his father.”  Nevertheless, this is the reality of discipleship:

One cannot follow Jesus and busy himself with this world’s affairs at the same time.

(3) “Allegiance to Christ takes priority over family relationships.”

Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62)

Jesus demands total devotion of His followers, even over one’s oldest, most cherished relationships, his family.  Even these bonds should not distract the disciple away from the will of his Master.  Yet tragically, it is not uncommon for a believer to allow the will of a family member to turn him away from the will of Christ:

  • “We were not able to worship with the church last Sunday because our family from out-of-town was visiting with us … and they did not want to worship our Redeemer.”
  • “We did not go to the mission field because our parents / in-laws did not want us to take their grandchildren away from them.”

Jesus, however, demands preeminence, over children … over grandchildren … even over Mom and Dad.

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  (Matthew 10:37-38)

This is the reality of discipleship:

One cannot follow Jesus and view his family as his supreme priority at the same time.

Let there be no deception among those who claim to be Christ’s disciples:  No man has two hearts … only one.  Therefore, no man can have two all-consuming passions … only one.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  (Matthew 6:24)

This is the reality of discipleship.  It is a lifestyle that demands nothing less than one’s death to self interests.  It requires one to let go of what everyone else is grabbing for in order to cling to the will of the Father.  It is the daily life of an undivided allegiance.

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