Last week we finished the Armor of God. For the next little while, we’ll follow the Gospel reading that is part of the Morning Office. This is a guide to prayer that is found in the Book of Common Prayer. If you’d like to find each day’s full reading list, you can click here.
We’ll read Luke 9: 51-62:
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to prepare for his arrival, 53 but they did not receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then they went on to another village.
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 And Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Today we see two different groups refuse to follow Jesus. First, we see the Samaritans refuse to follow Jesus. This is their reason – He is on the way to Jerusalem. The Samaritans and the Jews were not fond of each other, and for the Samaritans, the fact that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem was enough to make them decide that they would not follow.
Then we see a variety of folks refuse to follow for a variety of reasons, but they all come back to this – comfort. They either want the stuff of earth, convenience, or some other reason.
In both of these, Jesus allows them to refuse to follow. He doesn’t make them. He offers them the chance at life, and when they refuse, He still loves them, but He lets them choose.
I think these are important situations for us to consider today. What is keeping us from following Jesus? For everyone in this passage they have reasons why they could not or would not follow. For every one of them, they could give a good and valid defense as to why they would not be willing or able to follow Jesus.
And for each of them, as great as the reason may seem, it was the wrong answer. In not following Jesus, they missed out on life. In not following Jesus, they missed out on purpose, on joy, on something beautiful.
For each of them, something keeps them from following Jesus. Today, what is that thing for us? What is it in our lives that keep us from fully following Jesus? And unlike the folks in this passage, are we willing to lay that aside?
What keeps us from following Jesus today?
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