Looking Back: Luke 9:57-62

Focus Passage: Luke 9:57-62 (GNT)

57 As they went on their way, a man said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lie down and rest.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But that man said, “Sir, first let me go back and bury my father.”

60 Jesus answered, “Let the dead bury their own dead. You go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”

61 Someone else said, “I will follow you, sir; but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.”

62 Jesus said to him, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.”

Read Luke 9:57-62 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In this passage, as potential disciples give excuses for delaying to follow Jesus, Jesus gives one of His most challenging statements. Perhaps this is because I am an easily distractible person, or maybe it is because it is a challenging truth to really apply, but either way Jesus’ remark in this passage would be one of the top challenging statements if I were to write out a list.

After the third person has expressed interest in following Jesus, Jesus responds in verse 62 by saying, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.”

In the context of this passage, the man had simply asked to go say good-bye to his family, but knowing Jesus, this request revealed a deeper truth about this individual, and Jesus responds to this underlying issue: commitment.

It is as though Jesus is saying, “Anyone who chooses to follow Me, but who keeps looking at what their missing out on is of no use to the Kingdom of God.”

Some people might think this statement means we should disconnect from those who are sinful in the world. If so, then this would be a very difficult challenge in today’s media-centered world.

However, I don’t believe that Jesus’ words mean that we should be disconnected from others, or that we shouldn’t be friends with those who think differently from us. Instead, this statement is like Jesus saying He wants us to be 100% committed to our future with Him, and to leave our past hurt, past mistakes, and past regret in the past.

Jesus’ words say that once we have chosen Him, there is no point in looking back at the past because the present and future are what matter most of all. The present and future are what hold our relationship with Him.

Also in this statement is the idea that we should not delay following Jesus. By saying, “I’ll follow Jesus after I do this, or after something happens,” we are really saying that Jesus is not the most important thing in our lives. If Jesus is not number 1, then we end up with divided focus and are “of no use to the Kingdom of God” and we are not guaranteed future moments in time to make that decision.

God calls us to be committed to Him first, and to focus on following Him above everything else. That is how we can be most useful to helping His Kingdom move forward.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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