He gave orders to cross to the other shore.

Doesn’t it seem, at first, that Jesus is annoyed with everyone in Scripture?   First, he tries to get away from the crowds, then when a scribe and a disciple declare their desire to follow him, he seems to pour a bucket of ice water over their enthusiasm.   But Jesus is not responding out of exhaustion or moodiness.   He’s saying something that can be difficult to hear: following him can be hard.   He’s inviting them—and us—to follow him more wholeheartedly even though the cost is high.   Let’s look closer at each one:

The Crowd.

When Jesus crossed to the other shore, he was asking everyone in the crowd, “Will you follow me wherever I go?”   The people had to ask themselves how far they were willing to go when following him.   Would they cross this lake too, in order to receive his healing or hear more of his teaching?

The Scribe.

This man was fascinated by Jesus; he wanted to follow.   But he needed to know there was a cost.   He would not always be treated with the welcome and respect usually given to experts in the Law of Moses.   He might not even have a place to lay his head.   Was he willing to risk becoming a social outsider?

The Disciple.

He had been following Jesus and may have already given up home or comfort.   But Jesus offers an extreme response: don’t bury your father.   It’s unlikely that Jesus meant this literally, but one thing is clear.   Jesus wanted this man to know that the call to discipleship can be demanding at times.   He wanted to show that he was serious, and that there are times when sacrifices may be called for.

No matter which of these examples you identify with, Jesus is calling you to take the next step.   If that idea makes you uneasy, remember psalm.   It reminds us that “to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God”.   The goal that we’re working toward is to see God’s salvation, and God will bless any step forward along the “right way” that we take.   Jesus is asking you to take that one small step today.   What does it look like for you?

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