Water from the Well: June 19, 1995

Luke 9:57-58 (NIV) -- As they were walking along the road a man said to [Jesus], "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

People often offered to follow Jesus. Who could blame them? Jesus was healing the sick, raising the dead, and giving sight to the blind. Not only that, but he was also causing quite a stir as a religious teacher. Many were getting the idea that he was going to march into Jerusalem, drive out the Romans, and set up a kingdom of his own, a kingdom which would bring peace and prosperity to the land of Israel. Jesus seemed to be the man who would solve all their problems.

In Luke 9:57 we see a man make Jesus an offer which sounds good: "I will follow you wherever you go." This man was a religious teacher himself. He had heard Jesus' teachings and sermons. Maybe this teacher, like many others, believed that Jesus would become a great king in Jerusalem. Whatever his motivation, he came to Jesus and offered to travel with him and be one of his students.

Jesus wanted this teacher to understand that being a disciple isn't an easy job. Jesus told him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Luke 9:58). Jesus wanted him to understand that being a disciple would mean a big change in his life. Jesus himself didn't have a permanent home, something which is a great priority to most people. As a disciple, this man would live the same way. He would have to change his priorities. Being a disciple of Jesus means changing earthly priorities into heavenly ones.

Although many expected Jesus to give them earthly prosperity and success, Jesus promised no such thing. Instead Jesus promised "heavenly success"--forgiveness of their sins and eternal life. He promises these blessings to all who believe in him and follow him--to all his disciples.

Being a disciple of Jesus means a change in priorities today too. When we realize that Jesus suffered and died to pay God's price for all our sins, our lives and our priorities change. We realize that all our earthly problems are only minor now that our biggest problem--the problem of sin--has been solved. We realize that we have new priorities: we desire to serve our risen Savior in our words and actions by following the commands he gave us, and we want to share the message of forgiveness with those who don't know Christ, so that they too may share in the blessings of forgiveness.

Christians--modern-day disciples of Jesus--discover that their priorities change. They are no longer slaves to earthly priorities such as wealth, pride or self-gratification. Instead, they become servants of Christ with heavenly priorities, such as worshiping God for his mercy, serving God in their actions, proclaiming the good news of forgiveness through Jesus, and even patiently suffering ridicule and persecution for his sake. God's servants find their strength and encouragement in God's Word, not in the words of men, and they make it their priority to serve him in everything they do. For a disciple of Jesus, earthly priorities always take second place to heavenly ones.