Many of us have heard the call of God in our life, but instead of obeying immediately we have put it off for a more convenient time. As we read in Luke 9:59, when Jesus invited this man to follow him, he didn’t say “No Lord I won’t follow you.” He added a precondition to following Jesus. He said, “Let me first go and bury my father”.
“57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9: 57-62
At first glance, it might appear that this man’s father was dead and he wanted to pay respect to his dad before he followed Jesus. However, we have no reason to believe that. He may as well have been saying he wanted to wait until his dad was dead and buried to receive his inheritance before following Jesus. His father may have been sick and he wanted to wait until he died before following Jesus. It’s also possible that He may have thought that Jesus will be in Jerusalem for a long time preaching, so he didn’t see the urgency of following Jesus right away. Little did he know that Jesus would be crucified a few months later and he had just missed a huge opportunity!
“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity” – Leonard Ravenhill.
In contrast, Simon and his brother Andrew heard the same call of Jesus to follow him. And their response was much different than the man we read about in Luke 9.
“16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.”18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:16-18
They didn’t say, “Yes, Jesus I will follow you. But let me first bid farewell to my family”. It says, “They Immediately left their nets and followed him”. That is radical obedience!
When we read down further, we see James and John doing the same thing. They left their dad and the family business to follow Jesus! They were also at their job in the middle of the day, but when they heard Jesus calling they gave it all up!
“19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.” – Mark 1:19-20
In another passage, we see Bartimaeus hearing Jesus call him in Mark 10: 46-52. When he heard the call, he threw aside his garment and went to Jesus. This blind man has been sitting on the road in Jericho begging those passing by. When many people heard him cry out to Jesus, they told him to be quiet. But he refused to be quiet until Jesus heard him. His cry got the attention of the King, his request was heard and he was able to receive the sight he desperately wanted and started to follow Jesus. That’s what happens when you immediately obey and follow Jesus!
Friend when Jesus calls you, it’s for something better than you already have. It’s to open your eyes like He did to blind Bartimaeus. It is to make you a fisher of men that brings the good news to the lost and dying. Proverbs 11:30 says, “He who wins souls is wise”. When Jesus calls you, it is because he wants to make you wise by making you a worker and partaker in the harvest to his kingdom. After all Romans 16: 27 states that God alone is wise, so do not be wise in your own eyes, but obey immediately because God alone knows what is best for you!
Finally let’s look at John 11 to see what obedience to Jesus’s call brings about. Lazarus has been dead and been buried for four days, when Jesus came to Bethany. When Jesus finally came into town, Martha went out and met him but Mary was in the house. After talking with Jesus Martha went inside and called Mary saying, “The teacher has come and is calling you” As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to him.
Mary could have been bitter and angry at Jesus for not coming to see Lazarus when he was still sick. Martha had said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Mary heard that she was being summoned by Jesus , she could have held a grudge at Jesus because He didn’t come to heal her brother and refuse to come. But that wasn’t the case. The text says in John 11: 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to him. She obeyed right away and was able to receive her brother back from the dead.
Some of us are mad at God because of things that happened in our lives. We blame God for the hardships we have suffered, or for a loss of a loved one and when we hear God’s voice we refuse to obey. But who am I to refuse the king of kings? Who am i, the created being, to disobey the creator? Although I may not always understand His ways, I know God is Just in all that he does( Psalm 145:17). And as we saw in the lives of Mary, the 4 disciples that followed Jesus and Bartimaeus immediate obedience has a great reward!
Food for thought:
Have you heard the call of Jesus, but have put it off for a more convenient time? Or are you the one to obey Jesus immediately when he calls you? The enemy knows if he can get you to postpone obedience till tomorrow, he can get you to postpone it till next week as well. And if he can get you to push it off till next week, he knows you won’t obey eventually. That’s why it is urgent and crucial that we respond to Jesus’s call immediately. What is preventing you from following Jesus today? Is it family? Is it your dreams or your education? Is it your young age? Maybe you’re thinking I will follow Jesus when I am a bit older and after I have enjoyed my young age. Maybe you think you have tomorrow to obey the Lord. However, tomorrow is never promised friend. All we have is today!
You don’t lose by following Jesus. And even if you lose brothers or sisters, friends or parents, loved ones and anyone for the sake of Jesus, He promises that you will receive more than you lost for God’s kingdom’s sake.
“29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[k] or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” – Matthew 19:29
So ask yourself what’s stopping you from following Jesus? What’s more important than following the call of God in your life, that you have pushed it off till tomorrow?
The message starts at the 16:25 mark. Be blessed!