Would-Be Followers of Jesus


Matthew 8:18-22


Jesus very well knew what was in the heart of his disciples. Therefore, when he chose the apostles he had in mind what was going on in the disciples mind.  It was not that the other disciples did not have to leave behind their work, family, parents, and all possessions, but only Jesus knew what he was seeking from each of his apostles.

There is a parallel in the OT where Elijah calls Elisha to be a prophet. The case of Elisha appears less radical than that of the disciple because Elijah allows him to say good-bye, but it is also quite radical since Elisha slaughters the animals he was ploughing his field with and use the yoke to cook them with, turns totally disconnecting with his past.  

In this case it was a scribe who wanted to follow Jesus, probably knowing the messianic mission of Jesus and seeing the popularity of Jesus. The scribes were the educated leaders in communities and religious parties, and living a life that Jesus lived was something this scribe was not comfortable with.  Jesus challenges the scribe by informing him that he had nowhere to lay his head, which meant that he was leading a risky, unsettled, nomadic way of life, the disciple should expect nothing more.

To the next disciple what Jesus challenges him with  must have shocked his disciples because for the Jews it was a very important duty  to bury the dead.  Jesus tells him to give number one priority to God alone, rather than other duties.

Jesus through this passage teaches us the charismatic character he expects of his disciples. Let us now reflect and find out who or what is our first priority in life.  We all know that we spend time with our Lord only when we are done with other chores of life.  Ask our Lord to help us be true disciples and follow him giving him the first place.

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