Being a disciple means setting a new priority. In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus meets three eager men, all-willing to follow him. The response of Jesus to each of them is surprisingly direct.
The first man says, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus responded, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” It is as if Jesus is saying, “Are you sure? Because to follow Me means homelessness.” Jesus was not a Savior rallying his troops, building his base and pulling together the military. He was a Savior who saves through being condemned, through dying and giving himself to the broken and left out.
Which Savior are we following? Are we willing to put Jesus before anything else or do we have a pre-conceived idea of how Jesus is supposed to act? Then Jesus speaks to two other men, each concerned with his own family. To one He says, “Follow me.” This man explains that first he needs to go and bury his father. On the surface there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this. The second man is similar. He wants to say goodbye to his family and friends. Maybe he wanted to throw a going-away party. Again, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Do you notice that both men are saying, “I will follow you, but first there is something I want to do”? Jesus is challenging their thinking. He must be their first priority, their first thought. In fact, Jesus said to the second man, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” I have never plowed a field but I know that if you wanted to plow a field in the first century, with first century technology (or lack thereof!) you had to be completely focused on plowing. To look back while plowing, would result in crooked rows and disaster.
Jesus wants his disciples to be focused on him. He wants us to be completely committed to Him. This is what it means to be his disciples. It is what we were created for, and we will never plow straight unless our eyes are focused on Him.
It is one thing to consider ourselves disciples, and another to be completely focused on Jesus.