Following Jesus: Loyalty

My heart was right, but I didn’t really understand the cost of discipleship.

To another he [Jesus] said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 9:59, 60 (ESV) 

READING: Luke 9:57-62 

When I was a young Christian I tried to persuade all my friends to become Christians, too. I told them, “All you have to do is pray this prayer.. . .” My heart was right, but I didn’t really understand the cost of discipleship.

Jesus challenged this man to follow Him, and at first glance the man seemed to accept the invitation. But he made what seemed like a reasonable request: “Let me first go and bury my father.”

The Lord’s reply might seem harsh: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” But the truth is that this man’s father was most likely still living. This potential disciple was really saying that he wanted to wait. His priority was to delay – perhaps for years – until his father died, so he could receive his inheritance. 

Jesus was calling this man to undivided loyalty. Following Christ means putting Jesus first. Christ’s words remind us of another hard saying: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Jesus wasn’t contradicting the commandment to “Honor your father and mother,” or “love your wife.” He was simply demanding undivided loyalty.

Jesus is not just the Gentle Shepherd. He is the King of all Kings. He demands and deserves to have first place in our lives. 

Lord Jesus, Teach me to give You the loyalty You deserve, and to lovingly call others to put You first in their lives, too. Amen. 

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