Reading: Luke 9:57-62
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.”
Jesus never responds as I expect. That is my experience of reading the Gospel story.
True of this passage as well.
I would expect Jesus to be more inviting, welcoming and enthusiastic about people who want to follow him. "I will follow you wherever you go"--that sounds like someone who wants to enlist in Jesus's band of disciples!
But Jesus' response ("Foxes have densd and birds have nests") seems dark, brooding, almost not wanting people to follow him. Why?
I can only understand Jesus response here by remembering that this is his response in other places as well. Jesus is often warning people that following him is not easy. Following Jesus is not about getting "your best life now." Following Jesus is not about "self help." Following Jesus is hard--really, really hard.
And, as we continue to walk with Jesus to Jersualem through the Gospel of Luke, we come to realize that following Jesus is hard because the desination is hard--it is a journey leading to suffering and death.