Apr 25, 2009

"Commitment Has a Cost" (Luke 9.57-62)

57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 59To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 61Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." -Luke 9.57-62 (ESV)

Background: Parallel Scripture is found in Matthew 8.18-22. This section talks about a total commitment to Jesus Christ. Both Matthew and Luke record this event. Luke highlights the term “follow” in his account. He also demonstrated the centrality of Christ in the heart and life of a believer.

A Declaration of Commitment (v.57-58)

  • The voice of commitment

“someone said”- unnamed person made a pledge to commit to Jesus

similar to Peter committing to Jesus (Luke 22.33)- possibly another rash statement

  • The price of commitment

Jesus points out that commitment is not an easy thing; it has a price

likewise, Peter failed to keep his rash commitment in Luke 22

when we decide we will follow Jesus it is a task beyond our ability; a task requiring more than we realize

-many hold to a prosperity gospel, but it is a lie. Jesus shows that we will have to expect difficulty to truly follow Him (persecution, suffering is worldwide)

-we are called to commitment, not comfort (comfortable Christianity is a fading Western phenomenon)

The Dedication of Commitment (v.59-60)

  • The call to commitment

Jesus seeks out another person and calls him to follow

the answer is that he has obligations to fulfill

Jesus puts it into perspective: Christ first

  • The immediacy of commitment

Jesus requires a focus on life in Him

-even noble things are not to interfere with serving Jesus

-consistent with Matthew 6.33, “But seek first the kingdom of God…

-as Matthew 6.33 promises, God will take care of the rest when He is put first

His call is to proclaim the Gospel under His authority

-see Matthew 28.18-20 and Mark 16.15-16

The Direction of Commitment (v.61-62)

  • The qualified commitment

another person assured Jesus of his commitment, but with a qualification

-he had to say “good-bye”; not given Elisha’s consent (1 Kings 19.19-21)

-Jesus is greater than Elijah, His mission greater as well

-commitment must be total and with no strings attached
- Jesus did not call this man or the first and they were unable to fulfill the commitment
  • The focus of commitment

Philippians 3.13-14 “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward”

“hand to the plow” requires looking forward, looking back will change direction

fitness for the kingdom of God requires focus and dedication

Conclusion: We have been called to a commitment by Christ to His work. There is nothing more important. The Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1.16 ESV) It is not easy- Jesus did not have it easy and He did not die to make things easy, but to bring us salvation from our sins against God.

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