“As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, ‘I will follow You wherever You may go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head’” (Luke 9:57-58).
According to the parallel text in Matthew 8:19, this first man is a scribe. This is significant because it shows the diverse group of people that were listening to and (at first) enthusiastically following Him. But like so many people of His time, as well as today, this scribe was unwilling to go the next step beyond lip service. It is really easy for all of us to shout “I will follow you” without ever fully understanding the obligation that it entails. We should always “count the cost” of an activity before we make bold promises. Jesus explains it best in Luke 14:26-32.
- Following Christ at first seemed like a good idea to this scribe. Christ is performing miracles and feeding thousands of people and He is always teaching such wisdom! But as soon as Christ begins to paint the picture of how difficult servitude is, we can all just imagine how this man’s countenance must have fallen.
- Take a look at the example of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19: 16-22. Notice how quickly the man’s expression falls to disappointment. He walks away from His encounter with Christ grieving, because the road to salvation involved something that he did not want to do.
Christ never promised that our service to Him would be easy! In fact, He seems to promise that it will be the exact opposite. Take a look at the language that He uses to describe service in the Kingdom. He makes no excuse for the way He personally has to live—that is, with no home and no place to rest on this earth. Any servant of Christ should not expect anything more. He tells His disciples in Matthew 10:22 that “You will be hated by all on account of My name.” He says again in Mark 8:34 that “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” He calls the Way of salvation “a narrow door” in Luke 13:24.
In the first century, Christians were faced with powerful enemies from all fronts. John writes in 1 John 5:19 that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” That means that everything around us, all of the worldly ideas and philosophies that corrupt the mind, are from Satan! Satan works in devious ways, as is noted in Ephesians 6:11 where Satan’s activities are described as schemes and wiles.
But why, you might ask, would a person choose Christianity? Why, if it promises difficulties, would someone become a part of a despised group of people? The writer of Revelation helps us with this concept. We see from passages already discussed that there will be few people who choose the path of salvation. This group, or remnant, is figuratively represented in the Revelation 14:4 as the 144,000 who are redeemed. While a completely figurative number, it is important to see the reward of this relatively small portion of the world’s population. Consider Revelation 14:3-5, in which the following is said of Christ’s people: “they follow the lamb wherever He goes.” Continue reading in verses 12-13. So try to ask yourself; will I follow the Lamb wherever He may go?