Would-Be Followers

Read: Matthew 8:18-20

I will follow you wherever you go. (v. 19)

During his public ministry, Jesus attracted large crowds but few followers. So when a man came up to him and declared boldly, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go,” you might think Jesus would accept such an eager volunteer gladly and be grateful for his commitment.

This man was a scribe, a professional Bible teacher. Maybe he had just heard the Sermon on the Mount and was impressed by Jesus’ authority. He approached him as one rabbi to another, suggesting perhaps a collegial relationship. But Jesus doesn’t need colleagues, he wants followers. He’s not interested in people who simply call him, “Teacher.” He’s looking for people who call him, “Lord.”

Jesus put the Bible teacher off with a warning about what life with him is like: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (v. 20). That’s a word for us comfortable Christians to meditate on. If you offer to follow him anywhere, you may end up with nowhere to go.

The scribe was clueless about discipleship. In his commentary on verse 19, John Calvin says about him: “He wishes indeed to follow Christ, but dreams of an easy and agreeable life, and of dwellings filled with every convenience; whereas the disciples of Christ must walk among thorns, and march to the cross.” If you think that following Jesus is a free ticket to the good life, you haven’t looked at where Jesus himself was going. He was headed to the cross. —David Bast

As you pray, ask yourself seriously if you are willing to follow Jesus wherever he goes.

About the Author

david bast

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.