Rending asunder What God has joined together when God created us in His Own Imagefor a temporal and eternal relationship of love and trust with our Creator has been the history of humanity. As our world attempts to rend asunder the family God created as God’s Own natural order for human life and the states God has called to exist under God and even Christ’s Presence and Authority in His Own Church – the Rendingasunder of the very relationship God created us in His Own Image to be joined together with God in remains our most tragic and even eternal act of rending asunder What God joined together.
Only God can mend that relationship and that is exactly what God chose to do – at the greatest of cost to Himself – coming among us as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ enduring crucifixion as The Perfect Sacrifice for our sin and alienation and providing The Perfect Model for our lives to follow in that restored relationship.
“I will follow You wherever You go.”
When the days drew near for Jesus to be received up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die on a cross in order to mend what our fallen humanity daily rends asunder.
Eternal life as God always intended us to have it and true inner peace and wholeness as God created us to have begins with Jesus suffering and dying on the cross to repair our rent asunder relationship with God.
For us to have that eternal relationship with God and inner peace, there is only one God-given path to follow – and one man grabbed it with gusto as Jesus and His disciples walked the road to Jerusalem.
Without any hesitation, the man loudly proclaimed, “I will
follow You wherever You go.” The man’s words sound like a
confession of faith and commitment to truly warm Jesus’ heart — but Jesus Who always looks deeply into our hearts and minds expressed grave concern over the depth of this man’s faith and commitment — over his willingness to truly follow Jesus wherever He goes.
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
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.”
The Son of Man, had set His face to go to Jerusalem to die on a cross— totally committed to His Divine Plan for our Salvation.
The would-be follower was drawn to Jesus and the powerful message He proclaimed in words and actions —vowing without hesitation to always faithfully walk the walk of faith with Jesus — but Jesus knew that, as soon as The Saviour was out of sight, the scribe’s enthusiasm would begin to cool because his faith really was in his own enthusiasm and resolve rather than in God’s Power to enthuse and empower his life.
Jesus Himself set the model for faithful living. Foxes trust in the security of their dens … birds their nests — but Jesus has nowhere to lay His head— nowhere but faithfully in the Bosom of His heavenly Father.
We need only let The Holy Spirit empower us with faith to focus our vision and our lives in Christ. Having God repair all that we have rent asunder in our lives springs forth from God-given and enriched Faith in Jesus The Christ, The Son of The Living God.
“Let me first go and bury my father.”
To another Jesus said, “Follow Me”. But he said, “Let me first go and bury my father.”
At first glance, his request seems reasonable enough, but First Century traditions paint a different picture and Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Jesus’ answer sounds uncharacteristically harsh until we truly understand the situation He is addressing. I doubt if this man’s father was dead. In the Holy Land and many parts of the Middle East even today a son has the responsibility of caring for his parents in their senior years. In speaking of that responsibility, Middle
Easterners say, “I have to bury my father”. It is truly a
God-given responsibility — and one we 21st Century Christians dare not shirk. This second would-be-follower uses a very important God-given responsibility as an excuse for not being more closely involved with God Himself.
In His response, Jesus is not teaching disrespect for parents.
Such a stand would be in bold contrast to the care and concern Jesus showed for His Own mother even as He suffered and died for all of us on the cross. One thing we never find in Jesus’ life and teachings is inconsistency.
What Jesus is doing in our text is putting life in perspective.
Taking care of our earthly responsibilities is commanded by God — but we must never let one important responsibility or aspect of life become an excuse for less than full commitment and participation in the most important aspect of life — especially when the two are not mutually exclusive.
“I will follow You, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
The third would-be-follower in our text wanted to follow Jesus, but had his own personal detour in mind, when he said, “I will follow You, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
This fellow reminds me of Lot’s wife. As God prepared to destroy the wicked city of Sodom, He warned Lot and his family to “flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley, flee to the hills lest you be consumed”. As Lot and his family fled, Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.(GENESIS 19:26)
Actually, she disobeyed God by doing more than “looking back”.
The Hebrew language describing her actions says “she looked back longingly”. Ungodly as that city had been, Lot’s wife had trouble letting loose of it.
In the Middle East, “saying farewell to those at my home.”always involves a good party and the party always lasts a week or more — depending on the time of the year.
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” It takes full concentration to plow the Judean soil — mere inches deep — bone dry — resting atop limestone rock which frequently juts through the soil to leave bare rock — many smaller rocks spread liberally throughout and atop the soil. The people still must use primitive plows like the ones they used in Biblical times because modern machinery would be quickly ruined in that terrain. With his mule the farmer still uses a long stick with a curved blade at the end … with another stick going from the blade end to a handle held by the farmer he guides the plow. If a farmer lets himself be distracted even for a moment, he could break his plow or seriously injure himself.
To follow Jesus means giving our full attention to the radical reordering of values and priorities following Christ requires.
When the days drew near for Jesus to be received up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem. The forgiveness of our sins, the washing away of those sins as if they never existed, the mending of all we have rent asunder, true inner peace, and eternal life — those gifts, as God always intended us to have them, always begin with Jesus setting His face to go to Jerusalem and the cross to repair the relationship God has joined together with us and we have rent asunder.
We have not earned any of it and cannot earn any of it ourselves. All we need do is accept those wonderful gifts and follow Jesus in using them.
That takes faith — and God even gives us the Faith and empowers us to live by Faith. The Holy Spirit enlightening and empowering us to believe gives us that gift of Faith to follow Jesus.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS — AND FOLLOW HIM. AMEN.
Sixth Sunday Of The Trinity Season
July 8, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio