First read Luke 9:57-62 (a recent post categorized under “Verse of the Week”)
When I read this passage, the words “…as they journeyed…” stood out to me. These words set the scene for the story. The followers of Jesus were with Jesus and journeyed with Him. In that moment, they were following Him. They may have held a limited perspective. They didn’t fully understand Jesus, His mission, and discipleship; but they followed. They followed with eagerness, even if they later learned the parameters of their eagerness. They were enlightened of their limited understanding. In the midst of their journey with the Christ, they learned.
Initially I assumed that the followers of Jesus who spoke of their attachments were so intent on observing their specific areas of concern that they strayed from the path and returned home, buried a loved one, and officially offered parting words. I assumed, but I couldn’t know that such events took place. The story concludes with a message from Jesus, not the actions of His followers. As I repeatedly read this passage, I began to abandon my initial assumption.
Just because they didn’t have everything figured out from the get go, doesn’t mean they abandoned Jesus. Jesus’ responses were enlightening. He revealed the stumbling block in the voiced perspectives and reiterated the call to “go and preach the kingdom of God” (vs.60). Jesus’ words helped the disciples better understand the challenges involved in discipleship: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (vs 62). In this passage, Jesus gets the final word. He offers a lesson. Although we do not know the disciples’ initial response, we do know that at least eleven people continued with Jesus through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Through God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s mission continues today. The Lord has lessons for us, and He teaches them while we walk with Him, not as a prerequisite for walking with Him. We learn and rise to the challenges as we journey today, tomorrow, and onward.