Posted on Jun 26, 2019 by Pastor Dave Whetter
We have talked a lot this year about the “new commandment” Jesus gave his disciples the night before he died, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). It isn’t easy to love this world as Christ loves it, but to really do it well we ought to be followers of Jesus.
Our Gospel story for this coming Sunday, (Luke 9:51-62), is an explanation of just how difficult it is to be to be a follower of Jesus. To be a follower, we can’t have excuses as to why we have to wait or why we will do it later. Jesus, in no uncertain terms, tells us that to follow him we need to stop making excuses and do it without looking back and worrying about the past or what we used to do or not do. It is time to look to the future, the future that Jesus is preparing and calling us into.
And for those of us who say we are ready and able to be a follower of Jesus, he gives us fair warning that “the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). Jesus did not build up treasures in this world. He had no home of his own and he gave his all to follow the will of God. Personal belongings and personal comforts were not of concern to him. Even food was of no concern for Jesus; he completely trusted that God would provide what he needed as long as he was doing God’s will. While Jesus always seemed to find his way to a dinner party, only invitations from others kept him and his disciples fed. They had no security, no money in the bank, and no fallback plan. Following Jesus meant trusting in God’s provision through the kindness of others. For those who walked with Jesus, there could be no half-hearted following; they had to give up their former lives completely, dying to their old selves to follow him.
Now, giving up our lives is not something most of us really want to do, but the good news is that Jesus understands our concerns and fears and he is willing to wait for us as we slowly learn what it means to follow. Yes, he challenges us this week to stop making excuses, but as we saw with his reaction to the Samaritans who refused him, he is more than willing to wait for us. Jesus loves us so much that even though we might refuse him, even though we continue to make excuses as to why we can’t love as he loves, he patiently waits for us. Jesus is waiting for us to die to our prideful selves, and when we do, we will discover his joy, which is the joy of serving the kingdom. Dying to ourselves and this world isn’t easy. Living generous and selfless lives in a world that tells us we can never have enough and we have to look out for ourselves first is difficult and at times seems impossible, but this week we are challenged by our Savior to do just that.
Shalom, Pr. Dave