It is always easy to say I am following Jesus or I belong to Jesus Christ. It is always easy to see ourselves as Christians.
Today, Jesus teaches us that to be a Christian is not by mouth. It is not by mere profession or by going to church only. To be a Christian goes beyond these.
Therefore, through the gospel, we have to discover that to be a follower of Jesus Christ does not go without cost and expectations.
So, in the breakfast with the Word today, we consider what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Hence to follow somebody goes beyond following the person around.
It involves learning from the person and living the way the person lives. Therefore to be a follower of Jesus Christ is not how many times we have prayed and fasted. It involves them and still goes beyond them to give our lives entirely to Him.
To Be A Follower of Jesus Christ.
In the gospel, one of the scribes came to Jesus and told Jesus that He is ready to follow Him wherever He goes.
Jesus replies to the scribe that foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.
Many interpreters see this as a form of rejection by Jesus or that Jesus does not want Him because He is one of the scribes who always oppose Jesus. But the reason here is false.
Here, there is nowhere Jesus uses any form of rejection on the scribe. He did not say yes or no to Him.
What Jesus did was to enlighten Him on what it means to be His follower. That means it is not a journey one can profess by mouth but a decision to pass through whatever, whether good or bad and remain strong in the Lord.
Therefore when we decide to be a follower of Jesus Christ, always get ready for the cost. There is a cost of discipleship.
Secondly, the position of a scribe is one of those high offices in the Jewish religion.
They regard them highly. Through this, one can have an idea of the reason Jesus reminds Him that the son of man has nowhere to lay His head.
Here, Jesus is telling Him that to be His follower is also to be ready to sacrifice whatever gives Him pleasure. It is not like the position of the Pharisees and the scribes who seek attention, honour and pleasure. It is a decision to live a life that gives glory to God and not to give glory to ourselves.
Therefore, to be a follower of Jesus Christ is more of service, humility, sacrifice, commitment and willingness to work for God.
2. Another man who the gospel said is one of his disciples said to him; Sir, let me go and bury my father first. But Jesus replies; Follow me, and leave the dead to bury the dead.
This one is more ambiguous because when you look at the second man, He is already a disciple of Jesus.
Then, what does Jesus mean when He tells the man; follow me, since he is already a disciple. One can then decipher that what Jesus is using this encounter to do is to teach us that to be a follower of Jesus Christ is not merely following Him around.
It is not merely to belong to a particular group in the church. This is not moving from one place to another carrying the bible around. It goes beyond these to involve our total commitment to God.
To be a follower of Jesus Christ is something that must come from a burning desire. It must involve that total willingness to go through persecutions, suffering, worst betrayals, and sickness even, yet remain unshaken.
To be a follower of Jesus Christ is when our relationship with God is not conditioned by circumstances or by what we shall gain.
It is when our relationship with God is something that comes from the heart.
3. When Jesus says that the son of man has nowhere to lay His head. It teaches us that to be a follower of Jesus Christ is a decision to be on the move,just as Jesus is always on the move.
Therefore, it calls for deep dedication. It involves our untiring efforts and sincere love for the work that we do.
We do not do them to seek human glory, or conversely, for the pleasure, we shall gain from it.
Therefore, to be a follower of Jesus Christ comes with the heart that must be genuine in whatever he does.
Therefore anyone who wishes to be a follower of Jesus Christ should know that it is not all about comfortability, open doors and testimonies alone.
There is also the suffering part of it. There must be something we have to sacrifice.
Leave the Dead to Bury the Dead.
One of the disturbing statements in the bible is when Jesus tells the scribe to leave the dead to bury the dead. What does Jesus mean? How can the dead bury the dead? Does it mean Jesus does not have respect for the anguish this disciple must be going through?
The truth is that in the culture of the Israelites, They expect the sons to be the ones to bury their parents (cf. Tobit 4:3; 14:10–11; Gen 25:9; 35:29; 50:13).
So, Jesus is not in any way prohibiting Him from burying His father. He uses paradoxical language in his reply, as He does in Matthew 16:25, that anyone who wants to save his life must, first of all, lose it. To take that literally, one may question how one can lose His life and gain it again.
So in this pericope, Jesus teaches us that to be a follower of Jesus Christ, we must consider everything about Him as the most important.
Remember I said before that this man is already a disciple of Jesus. So in this pericope, Jesus uses this encounter to teach us that to be a follower of Jesus Christ, He must be the first and not the last.
We have to accept Him as our personal Lord and Shepherd. He is the Lord. Therefore, commitment to Jesus must be without reservation.
So, Jesus Christ does not intend to condemn the burial of the dead. The Jews consider burying the dead as important work of mercy.
Here, He is teaching us that to be a follower of Jesus Christ goes beyond mere followership. It is a call to be busy with the things of God more than we do for the world.
Therefore our responsibilities towards Jesus must come before ordinary worldly affairs.
Our concern of creating a good relationship with God, working for Him should occupy our mind more than any other affair.
But today, many even give more attention to their friends than they do to God. We spend more time with the people we think we love but give God little or no time and yet come back to say we love Him.
Sometimes we can go to any extent or sacrifice anything to win the love and admiration of some people but can never spend a single effort to be close to God. What a misnomer.
Secondly, Jesus is reminding us that to be His follower is not merely for the gain. We must be willing to carry our crosses, go through whatever in life and yet stay strong in God.
Despite whatever we do for God, there are blessings and rewards, but we should not lose faith when we do not encounter the glory part of our discipleship.
May God help us to understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. May He give us the grace to remain strong and faithful in our journey of faith. Also, may He bless all your efforts. Amen.