Matthew 8:18-27: Jesus cuts through all of this and calls us back to seeing things from His perspective
The scribe comes up to him and asks to follow Jesus wherever He will go. Jesus responds by telling the man that he will not have the comforts that He’s used to.
This is the same for us: The world tells us that there are certain things that we must have, certain expectations to have a good life. The world would call you insane if you gave up that which you could have to follow Christ, and yet God calls for all of us.
Another comes up and asks to bury his father first. Jesus tells him to let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead. The culture told him that it was right to go bury his father, Jesus said that following Him was more important than cultural practice.
Do we let the culture dictate our obedience to the Word of God? Whether it’s what we allow to entertain us, where we eat, how we talk or dress, what does God say? If what God says and what the culture says are two different things, who should we follow?
Luke 9:61-62 – Jesus even says to consider him above family
A man approaches Jesus and offers to follow him, but asks to say goodbye to his family first. Jesus startles us by saying that whomever starts to do the work and then looks back is unworthy of the work.
This parallels what I consider to be the most difficult passage, where Jesus will tell people that have done many things in Jesus’ name that He never knew them.
Luke 14:26-27: Jesus says that if we don’t hate our family and we do not take up our cross daily, we’re not worthy of Him.
They must be willing to quit that which was very dear, and therefore must come to him thoroughly weaned from all their creature-comforts, and dead to them, so as cheerfully to part with them rather than quit their interest in Christ, v. 26. A man cannot be Christ’s disciple but he must hate father, and mother, and his own life. He is not sincere, he will be constant and persevering, unless he love Christ better than any thing in this world, and be willing to part with that which he may and must leave, either as a sacrifice, when Christ may be glorified by our parting with it (so the martyrs, who loved not their lives to death), or as a temptation, when by our parting with it we are put into a better capacity of serving Christ. – Matthew Henry
This was as radical then as it is today.
Jesus is not asking us to be good versions of the world
It is easy as believers to get caught up in thinking that we need to be good. We refrain from behaviors that society tends to frown on. We like to have people look at us as people that are good and to be looked up to. However, this is the antithesis of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
I’m not saying that we should not being growing closer to God in our daily walk; however, I am saying that the closer that we get to God, the greater our awareness of how far we fall short should be.
Isaiah 6- Here was a priest that when he saw God called himself undone. Paul, at the end of his life, stated that he was the chief of sinners, and stated that he could not stop the sin that he wished he could. When a believer stops seeing the great debt that he owes God that was paid by Jesus blood, and starts to believe that he is good because of his righteous living, he is falling into the same trap Eve fell into—pride.
Jesus calls us to set aside what we could be under the world’s power to be what we can be under His. He wants us to reach the lost, and understand that we all struggle with sin. He wants us take His Word wherever we go—but not just to tell someone what they need to know to pray a prayer, but to disciple them so that they may grow in Him. He wants us to give Him Glory.
The Bible, this world, our lives—it’s all about Him.
Our salvation is all about Him.
We give Him glory when we are so attuned to Him that we instinctively do what He wants. How can we do that if we’re concerned about what the world thinks?