The Cost of Following Christ
Matthew 8:18-22
18: There were times when Jesus was drawn to the crowd out of compassion (9:36-38; 13:2; 14:13-14), ...
Published June 1st, 2012
Author
Share / Groups / About Author
Disclaimer
Notes
Arc
notes
Disclaimer
This page was automatically converted from a module that was shared prior to the release of Published Pages. Additionally, the arc below was auto-converted from the arc created by the author (which used the old module), and so it is possible there are misplaced logical relationships.
notes 1452680586339 Disclaimer This page was automatically converted from a module that was shared prior to the release of Published Pages. Additionally, the arc below was auto-converted from the arc created by the author (which used the old module), and so it is possible there are misplaced logical relationships.
Notes
2009-11-16 03:29:50
2009-11-23 04:40:44
18: There were times when Jesus was drawn to the crowd out of compassion (9:36-38; 13:2; 14:13-14), and there were times when he had to get away (14:22-23). Either way, He acted for the sake of doing the will of the Father. In this case, there was something He wanted to teach the disciples on the water (8:23-27). 19-22 : We get two responses to Jesus' departure from the multitudes: one from a scribe, the other from a disciple. The scribe declares his total commitment, and Jesus discourages him from following. The disciple, on the other hand, wants to attend to something worldly before following, but Jesus rebukes him and tells him to follow now! 19: Scribes were usually listed next to Pharisees. They were reputable and learned men. This particular scribe, however, was eager to lay it all down to be close to Jesus. But, from Jesus' reply it is clear that Jesus saw something beneath the surface (after all, Jesus "knows what is in man" Jn. 2:25) 20a: Jesus doesn't have to probe for the root of this man's motivations. He jumps directly to the answer to his deepest, darkest, most honest shortcoming: his unwillingness to press through trials and discomforts. "Foxes have holes". Foxes have homes. If they lose one, the world and nature are flexible enough to provide another one somewhere else. Jesus does not have this luxury. 20b: "birds of the air have nests". Birds can make a home virtually wherever they please with little or no resistance from the world. Jesus does not have this luxury. 20c: "but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." The title "Son of Man" was a favorite of Jesus', because it rang a bell in people's minds that He was the Messiah prophesied about in Daniel 7. This title struck an intimate chord with these people. He was the King! So, consequently, this negative statement here in 20c must have had a heart-sinking effect. He's the King, yet there is no fortress, castle, mansion, visible kingdom, or anything. There's not even a place for Him to lay His head! No bed, no home, no assurance of comfort or tranquillity or anything of that nature. These are things that He knew this scribe had to have , and Jesus puts the test to him without hesitation. 21: This time a "disciple" steps up to Jesus. Whether this is a "disciple" in the sense that he was one of the genuine followers, or this is a "disciple" in the sense that he was just a follower is debatable. Judging from the use of the word "disciple" throughout the Gospels and Acts, it is most likely that this is a genuine disciple who is having a weak moment, and as a result he slips out an understandable but shallow-hearted request. Whether his father was sick or ill, or old and near natural death, makes no difference. The point of his request is that his earthly father is taking precendence in his heart over Jesus. This is not how born-again Christians should prioritize. Clinging to Christ every moment and placing Him as your highest treasure may indeed lead you to the bedside and funeral of your loved ones, but then again, it may not. Jesus was going another direction, and instead of making what we might call the more compassionate statement here - "Sure, that's important. You're father is important. Take care of him, and just join us again when you've done that" - He instead makes the more infinitely important reply, which is "I'm more important! I'm who you need to be with! Nothing on this earth, not even your most intimate and God-given relations, are more important than following Me!"" 22a: "Follow me". That's all that's important. You're emotional attachments and your tendencies to search out comforts, closure with dying relatives, and to avoid the uncertainties have to be put aside. You must follow Me and trust Me. Trusting Me will cost you hard things, precious things, but right beside Me is the only place to be. 22b: "leave the dead to bury their own dead." Jesus is saying, "You're alive! And you're alive in Me! You can't be alive anywhere but beside me! There are people over there with your father who aren't here . They're not here! They don't have life. They're dead ! Leave dead people to perform ceremonies on dead bodies. Meanwhile, come with Me to do the work of living people, and let Me show you what it means to live. I'm the source!" ***NOTE!!!"*** The scribe calls Jesus "Teacher" ( didaskalos ), but the disciple calls Him "Lord" (kurie). The scribes ears were itching for some more wise words. He wasn't looking for a Lord, a Master. Jesus knew exactly what to say to bring this fact out. The Word of God does this to people today. The disciple wanted a break from his Master, but that's never an option for a disciple of Christ. This was an opportunity for Jesus to teach him radical Christian prioritizing. ***Questions remaining*** Is this disciple a genuine disciple, or is he just a follower from the crowd (What is the real sense of mathete in 8:21)? Is his father actually near death, or is he saying "go and bury my father" in the sense that Middle Easterners say that today (which would simply mean that he wants to wait for his inheritance)? ***Other interpretations*** MacArthur speaks of both the "scribe" and the "disciple" as unbelievers. Both are not further mentioned, therefore they must not be following any longer. Spurgeon grants that even the "scribe" could be a believer, a "new convert", who was just too overly eager. >> I don't see MacArthur's interpretation. His reasoning does not seem to be very weighty (both these men "disappear in the white spaces between verses 19 & 20" and "verses 21 & 22"). Not being mentioned again does not clarify their conversion or non-conversion. It only signifies the end of their conversations with Jesus! Spurgeon could be right that the scribe is an over-anxious "new convert", but there is some good evidence against this. First of all, scribes are mentioned among the Pharisees far more than not. Though he shows evidence here of separation from that sect in his zeal for Christ, it is highly possible that this is just another example of a scribe approaching Christ with the wrong heart. Secondly, he calls Jesus "Teacher", which throughout Matthew is the name used by Jesus' mockers and His shallow, uncommitted followers. In contrast, the "disciple" in this passage calls Jesus "Lord", which is a term more commonly used by His genuine disciples. All of these interpretations lead to the same Truths: Unbelievers may have extremely close brushes with Jesus and may even have the appearance of zeal and extreme commitment (even for extended amounts of time, perhaps a lifetime!), but at the heart level they are not willing. Others are fooled, but Christ is not. The Word of God will uncover this in a person. Believers, particularly young believers, have got to weigh the cost. Christ is gracious in revealing that cost, but the mark of a true believer is that he will count the cost each time a new price is laid before, and he will pay that price everytime! Not always immediately, almost always imperfectly, but always. He is careful to follow, and not to sway from Jesus' side. Radical truth repels unbelievers and sobers believers. Major Points: #1 Jesus is headed in a predetermined direction. Either you follow, or you don't. He knew everything, and He acted according to that knowledge. It was up to His followers to obey ("go over to the other side"), to do so without worldly attachments, and to do so without reserves. He knew who would do this, and who wouldn't. What does this show us? It shows that we can't just jump on the "Jesus bandwagon" anyway we like, anytime we like. Jesus is moving, and it's either you move with Him or get left behind. He's not going to follow you. This is not to say that He doesn't come after you. He most certainly does. He chooses to do so. His path graciously crosses yours at some point. Your response, however, reveals all. You may reject Him, and thus condemn yourself. You might pick up and follow Him, but then fall away once it gets difficult. You might be overly glad to follow, but then the cares of this world overcome that initial joy and void out that commitment. Only a precious few jump on and stay on Jesus' path. They are the elect. They are in the true fold of the Shepherd. By His grace, they can not be taken away. Further thoughts: Who was there in the end when Christ was condemned to be crucified? Who endured? #2 Is Jesus your "Teacher" or your "Lord"? Are your ears just itching for more of this good sounding teaching, or are you really prepared to live the life necessary to genuinely follow Jesus' radical wisdom? Your honest answer to this question will determine where your heart is, and it will reveal who Jesus is in your life. One answer reveals that you're lost. The other reveals that you're a genuine believer. #3 The Christian life is not an easy life. This flies directly in the face of church trends at the moment. "Accept Jesus, and your whole life will change for the better!" How much further from the truth can you get? Such a Christian life would be an extremely rare exception to the rule. Following Christ means forsaking comforts. Following Christ means forsaking intimate familial attachments. There is a price to pay , not a check to collect! In this sense, you come into the Christian life as a giver , not as a receiver. Yes, you receive grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding of Truth, love of the church family, etc. But, those things do not come (necessarily) in the form of better finances, a better job, or a happier life. They come in the form of faith, trust, and assurance at Jesus' side, knowing that no matter what this world throws at you there is nothing that can separate you from His love! All this receiving, however, creates a response of giving , of total sacrifice, of total commitment to remaining at Jesus' side. (Note: You cannot create this response at will. It is manifested when the Holy Spirit overtakes your will. Your motions are His motions.)
10000000015449 15449 Notes 2009-11-16 03:29:50 2009-11-23 04:40:44 18: There were times when Jesus was drawn to the crowd out of compassion (9:36-38; 13:2; 14:13-14), and there were times when he had to get away (14:22-23). Either way, He acted for the sake of doing the will of the Father. In this case, there was something He wanted to teach the disciples on the water (8:23-27). 19-22 : We get two responses to Jesus' departure from the multitudes: one from a scribe, the other from a disciple. The scribe declares his total commitment, and Jesus discourages him from following. The disciple, on the other hand, wants to attend to something worldly before following, but Jesus rebukes him and tells him to follow now! 19: Scribes were usually listed next to Pharisees. They were reputable and learned men. This particular scribe, however, was eager to lay it all down to be close to Jesus. But, from Jesus' reply it is clear that Jesus saw something beneath the surface (after all, Jesus "knows what is in man" Jn. 2:25) 20a: Jesus doesn't have to probe for the root of this man's motivations. He jumps directly to the answer to his deepest, darkest, most honest shortcoming: his unwillingness to press through trials and discomforts. "Foxes have holes". Foxes have homes. If they lose one, the world and nature are flexible enough to provide another one somewhere else. Jesus does not have this luxury. 20b: "birds of the air have nests". Birds can make a home virtually wherever they please with little or no resistance from the world. Jesus does not have this luxury. 20c: "but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." The title "Son of Man" was a favorite of Jesus', because it rang a bell in people's minds that He was the Messiah prophesied about in Daniel 7. This title struck an intimate chord with these people. He was the King! So, consequently, this negative statement here in 20c must have had a heart-sinking effect. He's the King, yet there is no fortress, castle, mansion, visible kingdom, or anything. There's not even a place for Him to lay His head! No bed, no home, no assurance of comfort or tranquillity or anything of that nature. These are things that He knew this scribe had to have , and Jesus puts the test to him without hesitation. 21: This time a "disciple" steps up to Jesus. Whether this is a "disciple" in the sense that he was one of the genuine followers, or this is a "disciple" in the sense that he was just a follower is debatable. Judging from the use of the word "disciple" throughout the Gospels and Acts, it is most likely that this is a genuine disciple who is having a weak moment, and as a result he slips out an understandable but shallow-hearted request. Whether his father was sick or ill, or old and near natural death, makes no difference. The point of his request is that his earthly father is taking precendence in his heart over Jesus. This is not how born-again Christians should prioritize. Clinging to Christ every moment and placing Him as your highest treasure may indeed lead you to the bedside and funeral of your loved ones, but then again, it may not. Jesus was going another direction, and instead of making what we might call the more compassionate statement here - "Sure, that's important. You're father is important. Take care of him, and just join us again when you've done that" - He instead makes the more infinitely important reply, which is "I'm more important! I'm who you need to be with! Nothing on this earth, not even your most intimate and God-given relations, are more important than following Me!"" 22a: "Follow me". That's all that's important. You're emotional attachments and your tendencies to search out comforts, closure with dying relatives, and to avoid the uncertainties have to be put aside. You must follow Me and trust Me. Trusting Me will cost you hard things, precious things, but right beside Me is the only place to be. 22b: "leave the dead to bury their own dead." Jesus is saying, "You're alive! And you're alive in Me! You can't be alive anywhere but beside me! There are people over there with your father who aren't here . They're not here! They don't have life. They're dead ! Leave dead people to perform ceremonies on dead bodies. Meanwhile, come with Me to do the work of living people, and let Me show you what it means to live. I'm the source!" ***NOTE!!!"*** The scribe calls Jesus "Teacher" ( didaskalos ), but the disciple calls Him "Lord" (kurie). The scribes ears were itching for some more wise words. He wasn't looking for a Lord, a Master. Jesus knew exactly what to say to bring this fact out. The Word of God does this to people today. The disciple wanted a break from his Master, but that's never an option for a disciple of Christ. This was an opportunity for Jesus to teach him radical Christian prioritizing. ***Questions remaining*** Is this disciple a genuine disciple, or is he just a follower from the crowd (What is the real sense of mathete in 8:21)? Is his father actually near death, or is he saying "go and bury my father" in the sense that Middle Easterners say that today (which would simply mean that he wants to wait for his inheritance)? ***Other interpretations*** MacArthur speaks of both the "scribe" and the "disciple" as unbelievers. Both are not further mentioned, therefore they must not be following any longer. Spurgeon grants that even the "scribe" could be a believer, a "new convert", who was just too overly eager. >> I don't see MacArthur's interpretation. His reasoning does not seem to be very weighty (both these men "disappear in the white spaces between verses 19 & 20" and "verses 21 & 22"). Not being mentioned again does not clarify their conversion or non-conversion. It only signifies the end of their conversations with Jesus! Spurgeon could be right that the scribe is an over-anxious "new convert", but there is some good evidence against this. First of all, scribes are mentioned among the Pharisees far more than not. Though he shows evidence here of separation from that sect in his zeal for Christ, it is highly possible that this is just another example of a scribe approaching Christ with the wrong heart. Secondly, he calls Jesus "Teacher", which throughout Matthew is the name used by Jesus' mockers and His shallow, uncommitted followers. In contrast, the "disciple" in this passage calls Jesus "Lord", which is a term more commonly used by His genuine disciples. All of these interpretations lead to the same Truths: Unbelievers may have extremely close brushes with Jesus and may even have the appearance of zeal and extreme commitment (even for extended amounts of time, perhaps a lifetime!), but at the heart level they are not willing. Others are fooled, but Christ is not. The Word of God will uncover this in a person. Believers, particularly young believers, have got to weigh the cost. Christ is gracious in revealing that cost, but the mark of a true believer is that he will count the cost each time a new price is laid before, and he will pay that price everytime! Not always immediately, almost always imperfectly, but always. He is careful to follow, and not to sway from Jesus' side. Radical truth repels unbelievers and sobers believers. Major Points: #1 Jesus is headed in a predetermined direction. Either you follow, or you don't. He knew everything, and He acted according to that knowledge. It was up to His followers to obey ("go over to the other side"), to do so without worldly attachments, and to do so without reserves. He knew who would do this, and who wouldn't. What does this show us? It shows that we can't just jump on the "Jesus bandwagon" anyway we like, anytime we like. Jesus is moving, and it's either you move with Him or get left behind. He's not going to follow you. This is not to say that He doesn't come after you. He most certainly does. He chooses to do so. His path graciously crosses yours at some point. Your response, however, reveals all. You may reject Him, and thus condemn yourself. You might pick up and follow Him, but then fall away once it gets difficult. You might be overly glad to follow, but then the cares of this world overcome that initial joy and void out that commitment. Only a precious few jump on and stay on Jesus' path. They are the elect. They are in the true fold of the Shepherd. By His grace, they can not be taken away. Further thoughts: Who was there in the end when Christ was condemned to be crucified? Who endured? #2 Is Jesus your "Teacher" or your "Lord"? Are your ears just itching for more of this good sounding teaching, or are you really prepared to live the life necessary to genuinely follow Jesus' radical wisdom? Your honest answer to this question will determine where your heart is, and it will reveal who Jesus is in your life. One answer reveals that you're lost. The other reveals that you're a genuine believer. #3 The Christian life is not an easy life. This flies directly in the face of church trends at the moment. "Accept Jesus, and your whole life will change for the better!" How much further from the truth can you get? Such a Christian life would be an extremely rare exception to the rule. Following Christ means forsaking comforts. Following Christ means forsaking intimate familial attachments. There is a price to pay , not a check to collect! In this sense, you come into the Christian life as a giver , not as a receiver. Yes, you receive grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding of Truth, love of the church family, etc. But, those things do not come (necessarily) in the form of better finances, a better job, or a happier life. They come in the form of faith, trust, and assurance at Jesus' side, knowing that no matter what this world throws at you there is nothing that can separate you from His love! All this receiving, however, creates a response of giving , of total sacrifice, of total commitment to remaining at Jesus' side. (Note: You cannot create this response at will. It is manifested when the Holy Spirit overtakes your will. Your motions are His motions.) notes
Arc
2009-11-16 03:29:50
2009-11-23 04:40:44
editing
Matthew
Matthew 8:18-22
NT
tisch
esv
Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πολλοὺς ὄχλους περὶ αὐτὸν
Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him,
ἐκέλευσεν ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὸ πέραν.
he gave orders to go over to the other side.
situationresponse
καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς γραμματεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, διδάσκαλε, ἀκολουθήσω σοι ὅπου ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ.
And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν
And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes,
καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις,
and birds of the air have nests,
concessive
ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.
but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
negativepositive
questionanswer
ἕτερος δὲ τῶν μαθητῶν εἶπεν αὐτῷ, κύριε, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι πρῶτον ἀπελθεῖν καὶ θάψαι τὸν πατέρα μου.
Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτῷ, ἀκολούθει μοι,
And Jesus said to him, "Follow me,
καὶ ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς.
and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
actionresult
discourse
10000000015449 15449 Arc 2009-11-16 03:29:50 2009-11-23 04:40:44 editing Matthew 8 18 8 22 Matthew 8:18-22 40 NT tisch esv i215716 i215717 i215707 Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πολλοὺς ὄχλους περὶ αὐτὸν Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, i215708 ἐκέλευσεν ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὸ πέραν. he gave orders to go over to the other side. situationresponse 2 i215718 i215719 i215709 καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς γραμματεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ, διδάσκαλε, ἀκολουθήσω σοι ὅπου ἐὰν ἀπέρχῃ. And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." i215720 i215721 i215710 καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, i215711 καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις, and birds of the air have nests, concessive 2 i215712 ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ. but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." negativepositive 2 1 questionanswer 2 i215713 ἕτερος δὲ τῶν μαθητῶν εἶπεν αὐτῷ, κύριε, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι πρῶτον ἀπελθεῖν καὶ θάψαι τὸν πατέρα μου. Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." i215722 i215714 ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτῷ, ἀκολούθει μοι, And Jesus said to him, "Follow me, i215715 καὶ ἄφες τοὺς νεκροὺς θάψαι τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νεκρούς. and leave the dead to bury their own dead." negativepositive 2 1 actionresult 2 1 1 1 tisch 25 esv 25 a 50 discourse
Comments
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.