Tuesday, January 12, 2010
1/13/10- Matthew 8:18-22 The Cost of Following Jesus
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." 20 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." 21 Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
Calvin abridged: Some here were prepared to become disciples of Christ but whose vices prevented them from doing so. It might seem strange that Christ sends back those who offer to immediately follow him. The scribe had been accustomed to a quiet and easy life; enjoying honor, and ill equipped to endure reproaches, poverty, and the cross. He wished to follow Christ but thought of an easy and agreeable, convenient life. But Christ’s disciples must walk among thorns, and march to the cross amidst uninterrupted afflictions. The first lesson is to deny ourselves and take up his cross (Mt. 16:24). “Foxes have holes”- The Son of God was describing his life, but also telling his disciples what kind of life they might expect since their master lived this way. 21- “Lord first let me go and bury my father.” This person had the opposite fault. He was prevented from following Christ by the weakness of thinking it a hardship to leave his father. Probably his father was very old- for “permit me to bury” implies he had but a short time to live. He does not refuse the calling; he only asks for a leave of absence to discharge a duty which he owes to his father. Christ implies that human duties should give way to the call of God. All ought to consider what God calls them to do as individuals lest their earthly parents prevent the highest claims of the highest and only Father of all. 22- “Allow the dead to bury the dead” He speaks of those who only seek to please people and forget God- for they are like the dead.
Thoughts: Years ago a couple joined a church I served because “it’s the right thing to do.” They had been coming every week for four months, and then after they joined they disappeared. I went to see them and they said that after they joined the church everything in their life went wrong. Their roof started leaking, their car broke down, their jobs became harder, and they felt like the devil was after them for joining the church- so they quit! They never came again. They were right, only the devil didn’t just pursue them, they let him catch them! Jesus told a parable about the seeds and the soil some fell on the path, some on rocky soil, some thorny soil, and some fertile ground. Jesus wanted all who truly followed him to not be surprised that some give up the faith when times get hard. Ten percent of Americans have given up the Christian faith in the last ten years. Why? Some give into their pride and think they can live without or know better than- God; Some have given into sin and do not want to repent; but there is no good reason to give up on the Creator and Redeemer. We should watch ourselves that we make sure that we remain faithful. The path that Christ leaves us is a path that is not an easy one and leads to the cross- but beyond the cross to His eternal presence.
Prayer: On the long, hard road, Lord, may I find your presence and grace leading me through. Give me grace for today to be faithful to you though all around me may fall away.