A short reading and prayer for today
Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied,“Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
Matthew 8:19-20 NLT
I’ve heard some speakers talk about the Christian life as if it was a life of peace and happiness characterised by sunshine and blue skies. Jesus never spoke about it in that way. If anything, he went to exactly the opposite extreme. He spoke about the huge costs and demands of being one of his followers. In this encounter, he is particularly blunt. You might have thought that Jesus would have responded to this teacher by saying how delighted he was that he was so committed to following him. But no, he launched into a description of his own vulnerability. Even though he was the Son of Man he had no secure home. Later on, when a man asked if he could bury his father before following Jesus, he was told to leave the dead to bury their dead. It was all very blunt language.
I am absolutely clear that following Jesus is the very best life that can be imagined. In John 10.10 Jesus contrasted his role as the Good Shepherd with that of a thief. Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” The whole purpose of Jesus’ life and ministry was to open up the way to a relationship with his Father, that would enable men and women to experience God’s love, peace and joy. But the relationship would be marked by suffering for his followers just as it was for Jesus himself.
It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who bravely spoke out against the Nazi regime and who was murdered at their hands just before the end of the Second World War, who said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Bonhoeffer’s own testimony was exactly that. He was willing to put his own life at risk in order to be faithful to his Lord. He bravely opposed the Nazi regime at a time when most church leaders chose to lie low and stay quiet. Wonderful as it undoubtedly is, following Jesus will always be costly.
How do you respond to the costliness of following Jesus?
Lord Jesus help me to follow you with conviction and strength whatever the cost. Amen