Luke 10: 1 | By Rev George Vink
A person doesn’t have to be a former English teacher to know words are important and make a difference, including pronouns and prepositions. As one of those highly-unappreciated mentors, I occasionally incurred a student’s wrath by wondering, “Where’s the ‘this’ you’re describing?” The pronoun “this” requires a direct reference. It’s that simple. But enough lament….
Luke, a divinely inspired writer, had such a reference when moving his account of Jesus’ life from one event to another. He didn’t use chapters and verse; they’re added for our benefit. So, with the preposition, “After,” followed by the pronoun “this,” Luke moved to tell the Lord’s appointing an advance team. Yet, it’s worthwhile for us to ask, “To what is the ‘this’ referring?” Looking back in Luke 9, we read an account of someone’s making excuses for not following Jesus. It’s a dramatic exchange between Jesus and unknown persons.
As they were walking along, Jesus and his disciples were approached by someone making the promise, “I will follow wherever you go.” Sounds committed! The man did say, “…wherever!” Words matter! Jesus promised him no rosy future and five-star hotels, and to another person said, “Follow me!” He replied with a delay tactic, or even avoidance altogether. Jesus responded with an often-misunderstood, “Let the dead bury their own dead but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another excuse followed.
Jesus left little leeway, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Even having heard it previously, reading his words again makes us cringe. We wonder, “Are any of us fit for the service expected?”
The next four weeks we’ll be looking at being sent. Luke 10 followed Jesus’ warning words in Luke 9 with, “After this the Lord appointed….” We hear no excuses, no dodging about following. We’re told there’ll be dangers. We’re called to go like “lambs among wolves,” without funds and to eat “whatever they give you….” But, we go with Jesus’ assuring words, “He who listens to you listens to me…”
What follows Luke’s opening of “After this….” is a consequence of knowing our excuses can’t cut it! Following Jesus still means being committed and obeying Jesus. Doing so will bring us joy. (Luke10:17)
We offer to follow Jesus, but we need to know that he expects commitment.
Loving Father who gave Jesus to a world in need of redemption, help us to look at our lives and see the excuses we form so readily to avoid going where we need to go and doing what we need to do as we follow Jesus.
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