Read Luke 9:57-62
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”
The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”
62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (NLT)
There are times when Jesus seems so unreasonable, almost offensive. Here are three people apparently willing to follow him. Instead of welcoming them with open arms he seems to make it very difficult for them to follow him. His invitations to discipleship are not “come to me and I will grant you wealth and health and happiness”. Or “please come to me as I am desperate to have more followers.”
He wants them, and us, to count the cost of following him. It will mean that his rule over his world takes priority over everything else, even the things we figure are most important. In this case, burying the dead was of the highest priority. And respect for family was well understood as a top priority. Jesus seems to be saying that even these most important things are secondary.
This may seem utterly unreasonable to us. And it could well be that Jesus is detecting some hesitation in these potential disciples. Or maybe he is firing a verbal warning shot across their bows to get them to think carefully about what discipleship means. Perhaps we can even imagine that Jesus would allow one to attend to a funeral and another to farewell his family. But in doing so, they need to understand that even what they figure are the most important things in life have to fit under the umbrella of Jesus and his rule.
Lots of things matter and Jesus would usually have us attend to them. As long as we realise that he matters most.