Luke 9: 57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
I read this passage last night, and realized as I read that I had no idea what Jesus meant. So I read it a second time, attempting to imagine that I was one of the people that Jesus was speaking to. As I did this, I saw the passage with different eyes, and Jesus’ words came to life. Here’s my interpretation.
Man #1: “I will follow your lead, Jesus, and be your shadow.
Jesus responds: What I really need is a place to sleep.
Jesus asks Man #2: Now you, I need you to come with me.
Man #2: I’ve got something to take care of first, you see, my dad died (or I’m going to wait until he does?) and then I’ll be on my way.
Jesus responds: Death is death, and will take care of itself. Not much more you can do. Especially since that’s not what I asked of you. I’m asking you to proclaim the kingdom of God…today.
Man #3: I’m on the way! I just want to hug my mom goodbye before I join up, ‘cuz I’m really gonna miss her.
Jesus responds: If you say you’re going to do some work, but hesitate for even a moment to reconsider, you’re not the best option for my servant.
Kyla’s response: Ouch. Uhm, that last guy…sounds a little like me. And where have I heard something similar before?
Genesis 19: 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Ok, so that sounds a lot like me. Now I know why my friend, Rich, used to consistently say to me, “don’t look back, or you’ll turn into a pillar of salt”. I’ve heard that phrase in my mind hundreds of times over the last few years. I certainly needed to be reminded of it this week, as I see myself moving forward in life, but with hesitation.
Here are a few questions that you’re welcome to discuss in the comments.
What do you think of my interpretation of the passage? Which of the men are you? Notice that Jesus asks something different of each of the men. What is Jesus asking YOU to do? What’s your excuse?