I Will Follow Thee…..But!

Luke 9:57-62

 

 When the events recorded, from which our text is taken, took place the face of Jesus was set toward Jerusalem. While just a boy ¾ a young man in Nazareth, He was beloved, for Luke tells us that He grew in favor, not with God only, but with men also.

 

In the early days of His public ministry, He was the center of attraction wherever He appeared . Men of all grades and classes crowded after Him to see and hear Him being amazed not only at His signs but His teachings..

 

 But in the process of that ministry, as He began to make clear  to those who listened the nature of His mission.  - Men gradually ceased to follow after Him so much so that we are not astonished 

 

 Concerning a statement we read of His disciples, Mark records at the time of His arrest “And they all forsook him, and fled”  Mark 14:50

But these  were days of testing and of crisis in the lives of those closest to our Saviour. 

 

In the last weeks prior to the cross His own disciples were busy disputing among themselves as to their own greatness,  Jesus rebuked them by setting a small child in their midst. This is what you must become declares the Master.       Luke 9:46-48

 

The mother of  James and John will approach Christ, with a  request that her two sons be allowed to sit on the left and right hand of His throne ¾ and the record says: the 10 were filled with indignation.      Matt 20:20-24

 

John himself was disturbed at this time  because someone had been seen working in the name of Jesus, who was not following with the disciples. Jesus quietly and firmly rebuked his attitude.                     Luke 9:49-50

 

The Samaritans refused to receive Him into one of their villages, the record says because His face was set evidently toward Jerusalem. Luke 9:53.   The Samaritans would have liked for Jesus to default to their side of the controversy with the Jews, after all the Jewish leaders had rejected His teachings. 

 

But Jerusalem was the place to worship not Mt Gerizim . The time was coming when true worshippers would worship in spirit and in truth.  James and John  the  sons of thunder would have called down fire upon them, but Jesus rebuked them, and simply passed on to another village.

Luke 9:54-56

 

 

With His face set  toward Jerusalem the city that He knew and loved… the city which He also knew was awaiting His arrival that He might be arrested and put to death. A city where the Scribes and Pharisees ever present to try to ensnare Him in His doctrines.  Somewhere on this journey to Jerusalem the things happened which are chronicled in our brief text.

 

One man¾  a certain man¾ Luke calls him ; and  have found that when the Bible says 'a certain man"' he is the most uncertain man you will find. But for some reason unexplained ¾in sincerity of his heart , no doubt said: 

"I will follow thee, whithersoever  Thou goest."        Luke 9:57                                                   

 

Another man still farther in the journey to the city,   Christ looked at him, and called "Follow me."         Luke 9:59      Then a third person,less excited than the first,  and with more hesitation apparently with a personal invitation from the Saviour states: "I will follow thee, Lord, but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house."         Luke 9:61

  

To the first  of these declaring himself willing to follow Him; His exact words being

 " Lord I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goesth"  Luke 9:57

 

This is an admirable statement and must be the resolution of any who would be Christ’s disciple.  But Jesus, sets a difficulty  and gives him a necessary caution,

Itt is as though He said to him: "You say you are prepared to follow Me whithersoever I go. Do you really know what that will mean to you?"  "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head."                                                                Luke 9:58

 

For those who really purpose to follow Christ, we must  lay aside thoughts of greatness in the world, following Christ is a life of sacrifice, and one of giving and of serving .   If any man come after Me, let him deny himself.”  Matthew 16:24

 

Let us not compound our profession of Christianity with friendships of this world. And so Christ tells this man what you must count upon if you will followed me, "to lie cold and uneasy at night¾ to fare hard, if you can not submit to this, do not pretend to follow Me.”  This word has sent many back, but will be no obstacle to all those who know what is in store for eternity.

 

 The 2nd man, whom the Lord called to follow Him, declined on the plea of a respectful duty, "suffer me first to go and bury my father"  Luke 9:59¾

It was most likely not a case of asking to attend a funeral., his father was in all probability still living. I read a story where a missionary had ask a young Arab to accompany him in an endeavor, and the young man looked at him and answered¾ "suffer me first to go and bury my father" in the very same words of scripture, and the old man was sitting by his side when he uttered the words.  What he meant was, “I have an obligation that prevents my coming just now.”

 

I think we may see in this,  the temptation by which we are often kept from following Christ — “Lord when I have accomplished this, when the children are raised, when college has been completed, when the house is paid for.”  We are tempted to defer the doing of that which we is Christian duty, thinking family ties will excuse us from our  duty to Christ.

 

It is a conceivable excuse indeed: "Let me go and bury my father,—let me take care of my family,  and then I will think of serving Christ;’’ But to this man who raised a difficulty in following Christ¾ He states: 

  "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the  kingdom of God"

 

And finally to another who expressed this desire “Lord, I will follow Thee, but let me first go bid them farewell which are at home at my house”.  To return; and do this would be to expose himself to the strongest urges imaginable to alter his resolution to follow Christ.; for they would all be against it, and would beg and pray that he would not leave them.

 

I remember when I first moved to Atlanta, I would go home on week-ends,  I got good home cooking and it was much cheaper to drive than to eat in Atlanta all week-end. But on Sunday afternoons after church services we would be sitting out in the yard under the trees, everyone would be there having fun. It was very hard for me to get up and return to Atlanta. I thought of quitting my job and not returning more than once.

 

Anyone who purposes  to walk with Christ must not to be placed  into any unnecessary temptations to leave off following.  The rebuke which Christ gave him for this requestAnd Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God."

                                                                              Luke 9:62

Any person desiring to complete a work will not look back or behind him for it leads to problems, no Christian can successfully serve the Lord and continually look back to the world.  If you  look back as Lot’s wife did to Sodom, which seems to be alluded to here, thou art not fit for the kingdom of God.’’

 

I do not purpose to follow these incidents any further in detail they constitute a background  for the lesson and the application  I wish to  present this morning very briefly. Whether any of these men ultimately  followed the Lord, we do not know.  We normally consign all these as doubtful cases, but we really have no way of knowing ¾ nor is it important that we should know.

 

The things of value are in these  verses are: 

1st ¾of the call, of Christ and  its supremacy,

2nd ¾ that difficulties often present themselves to our minds

           which are very real and definite.    AND

3rd¾ These passages teach us the urgency of an immediate decision, that when we receive the call of  Christ, counting the cost is out of place. He calls us to follow  immediately, and at whatever the cost.

 

Let us notice first and briefly the supremacy of the call of Christ.   On two occasions in the course of this paragraph men made use of the word follow,

The first man said: "I will follow thee, Lord "  The third man said" "I will follow thee, Lord …but" To another Jesus said: Follow me

 

I think it fair to suppose that the two men who declared that they would follow Jesus, prove they had heard Him call at least someone. “Follow me  was after all Christ's favorite way of calling men after Him.

 

He said other things to men when calling them to an awareness of their spiritual needs, they were incidental and not repeated ¾ to one He said "Ye must be born again" never repeating it again.

 

When calling His disciples  into discipleship He said: "Come and follow me". Matt. 4:18-22 ( call of Peter and Andrew)  This call was not made as a stranger He was well acquainted to all Israel, Luke records several events prior to this calling. 

 

 If we consider the suggestiveness of this call we discover in it a demand for confidence, and submission. Confronting a man in the midst of his daily vocation, at the receipt of custom, He looked into his eyes and said, "Follow me".  Luke 5:27. And we at once see that meant ¾trust Me, trust yourself to Me, put your confidence in Me, and obey Me.”

 

Follow me is still Christ's word to men.  I say this out of my heart ¾ I believe it is the one thing He would say to you and me today.  It is His universal call to men.    "Follow me" !   These words are brief, and so natural that  a child can understand them,  but when they are uttered there is nothing more to say.  "Follow Me".

 

The first step in the Christian life is that of obedience to that word. To follow is to become a disciple [maqhthv]   Many receive the call and refuse to obey Him  and there are those who hear the call but are not attracted to His call

 

There is yet another class made up of those who are attracted by Jesus,  those who admire Him,  and  are consciously aware of their own need.  I know I need Jesus in my life  is their very words ¾  and in their heart intend to follow Him¾ 

 "I will follow Thee: Lord…….but"   They make use of the same language  as the man in our text. I will follow Thee Lord I recognize who you are ¾ what you can do for me, I confess my desire¾ my need is  to follow ….. but!"

 

To these, I  speak at this time,  my message if I may state it boldly is, the claims of Christ are such that everything that comes after the "but" needs to be put out of our lives. 

There can be nothing after such a "but" as that warrants the halting of obedience to His call.  I will follow Thee: Lord …. but"  we cannot add to that anything¾ which is justifiable in light of our needs, and His claims. Yet how many things we too often add.  "Lord, I will follow Thee:….but"

 

 believe there are those who  hold back from following after Jesus, simply because they are not prepared to give Him all.  Lord I will give myself to you, but there are things I possess which you  will immediately take from me, permit me no more to enjoy.   In some cases they may be evil practices,  friendships with the world, In other cases, they may not of themselves be wrong, but they hinder me in my service to the Lord. 

 

These must be left behind, dropped, let there be no mistake about it….  There can be no discipleship as the Lord has said, save a man renounce all that he hath, . "I will follow Thee: Lord…….but"   We must hand over all to Christ.

 

 

Again, "I will follow Thee, Lord; but,  I  do not desire to give up my own independence.  I had a woman say to me,   "I have never learned to submit, and I do not think I can." This attitude had cost her a marriage    Beloved ¾ it is the story of many.

 

Of course these are but illustrations of the text, add to these the difficulties which suggest themselves to you as you say "I will follow Thee: Lord……. but"

 

You fill in the missing words¾  Remember the words of the text: "I will follow Thee: Lord…….but"    His words echo back “No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God."

 

Let me urge upon you the importance of making a definite decision, His call is supreme His call is urgent.  The Master waits for our answer. "I will follow Thee."  

 

Even now you are making reply, "I will follow Thee…. But".  What comes after that … that is what stands between you and eternal life.