As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 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.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” —Luke 9:57
Now we are ready to see that more than one thing is going on here. When Jesus says, “Follow me,” and says it in the context of going to Jerusalem and having just been rejected in Samaria for going to Jerusalem, he is clearly saying two things, not just one thing. He is saying: “Follow ME.” And he is saying “FOLLOW me.”
- There is me, and there is my mission.
- There is a person, and there is a path.
- There is a sweetness, and there is suffering.
- There is Jesus, and there is Jerusalem.
This is the way missions has always been and the way it will always be. When Jesus said at the end of his life, “Go, make disciples of all nations!” he wrapped that mission and that path and that suffering and that Jerusalem in his mighty and merciful self. First he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is mine.” And last he said, “I will be with you to the end of the age.” There is the “FOLLOW me!” (Go!) And there is the “Follow ME!” (I will be with you). There is the path to the nations through Jerusalem, and there is the person who will be with you, Jesus. So when you hear the words, “Follow me,” hear two things (at least!) not just one thing.