This second man was invited by Jesus to follow him, but the man gave an excuse to first go and bury his father. Jesus told him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. This response looks so harsh. To bury one’s father is a legitimate thing to do. Jesus was saying here that your call to discipleship must take priority over legitimate things. No further communication from this man also. Most probably, he went ahead to bury his father and left Jesus with his disciples.
The call to discipleship is not a bread and butter sermon. it is a call to action. If God cannot be priority number one in your heart, you cannot be a disciple of Jesus. You cannot answer the call to discipleship.
iii). Let me go and bid them farewell
“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61-62).
This third man was the most interesting of them all. He had it all figured out, but he still missed the mark. He said Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. This is like saying: “Lord, I am ready to follow you and never return home. Just let me go and say goodbye to my family for the last time”. Jesus told him he was not fit for the assignment. When you put your hands on the plough, you do not look back! This man too was disqualified because of wrong priorities.
3. Those that answered promptly: (Matt 4:18-22, 9:9)
i.) Peter and Andrew’s call to discipleship
Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two fishermen, Peter and Andrew casting a net into the sea. He said to them: ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him‘ (Matt. 4:18-20). Peter and Andrew wasted no time to answer their call to discipleship. They straightway left their nets and followed Jesus.
ii.) James and John’s call to discipleship
Jesus saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother. They were in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. Jesus called them to follow him: “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” (Matt. 4:21-22). James and John too did not waste any time to answer the call to discipleship. They immediately left their father, business of fishing and ship to follow Jesus. No excuses.
iii,) Matthew’s call to discipleship
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him” (Matt 9:9)
Matthew was a tax collector for the Roman government. He was busy at the receipt of custom with heap of money on his table when Jesus came by and said to him: “Follow me”. Matthew arose immediately and followed Jesus. No questions asked, no excuses and no arguments.
These disciples answered their call to discipleship promptly. They left all to follow Jesus. This is what distinguished them from others. They went through the thick and thin of what it required to follow Jesus till the end of their days on this earth. Jesus poured himself into them by teaching them. When Jesus ascended to heaven, they continued the work faithfully and diligently in the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, they are enjoying their rewards in heaven. They are now a cloud of witnesses cheering us up and encouraging us through their epistles to be faithful unto the end.
The 120 disciples
After the ascension, about one hundred and twenty disciples gathered together (Acts 1:15). The multitudes disappeared, but the disciples gathered. Among them were the eleven apostles and other disciples who were in different vocations. They were to carry on the ministry of Jesus. Among them were some women who ministered to Jesus out of their substance (Luke 8:1-3). They were business women who used their substance to support the ministry and remained faithful to the end. So, a follower of Jesus can remain in his/her vocation and still answer the call to discipleship.
Joseph of Arimathaea (Matt. 27:57-60)
After Jesus’ death, Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man came to beg for the body of Jesus. Pilate released the body of Jesus to him and he buried him in his own new tomb which he hewn out of a rock. This Joseph was a disciple of Jesus. At a point in his life, he answered the call to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. His own call to discipleship did not require him to sell all he had, but at the appointed time, he willingly gave up his tomb for the body of Jesus.
Make disciples of all nations
As disciples of Jesus, we are to make disciples of all nations. This is the assignment of the great commission; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matt 28:19).
We need to teach others what we learned: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). Therefore, our mark of discipleship is the ability to disciple others.
You may also like to read: Heaven is a tangible location
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