Matthew 8:14-22: It’s Worth It

Read: Matthew 8:14-22

Following Jesus is not something one can do halfway. Jesus speaks pretty strong words for those who say they wanted to follow him. He says first that those that follow Jesus are basically homeless and second that those that follow Jesus have to prioritize him above even burying one’s own father. A candid read of these saying would seem to suggest that Jesus is calling Christians to be homeless and dishonor ones families, but this is not at all what Jesus is getting at. He’s using hyperbole to make a points – the first being that following Jesus isn’t safe. There’s no safe place one can go and not expect persecution or ridicule for being a Christian. In fact, scripture pretty much guarantees that persecution will come to those that want to follow Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12). The second is teaching that one must put Christ first above everything else. Jews would have two burials: the first that took place right after the death and a second that would happen a year later when the corpses had rotted and the bones were buried in a box again. This text is probably talking about the second burial wherein a son would bury his father again. He’s asking Jesus for permission to delay following him so he could take care of his other responsibilities. Jesus was demanding that he honor God first then take care of his other responsibilities.

These harsh words though come after Jesus performs many healings. Certainly, Jesus, healing ministry attracted many people from all over who wanted to be done with their infirmities yet even so they did not necessarily want to be his followers considering what it would cost them. Jesus though did not make distinctions between would be followers or otherwise. Matthew applies Isaiah 53 here to Jesus where it says that the Lord would take away infirmities and diseases. 1 Peter 2:21-25 applies this same text to the spiritual condition of man.

Jesus showed and still shows no partiality for those who will receive his healing – physically or spiritually. Matthew 9:5-6 teaches that Jesus used physical to show his authority in the spiritual realm. Physical healing though only lasts for a time while spiritual healing lasts forever for those that will accept it. While the healing is free, the demands of Christ are high: he expects that ones that call him Lord to accept his authority over their lives as they did when by faith they accepted that he had authority over diseases and demons. Following Christ isn’t easy, but the reward is eternal for those that will believe. One must first count the cost. But all those that have and counted it worthwhile have never regretted it!

Lord, following you is worth it! Help demonstrate that by making you the priority in my life!