Remembering Jesus and His words prevents turning back once you have put your ‘hand to the plough’(v.62). The farmer needs to plough straight rows so he shouldn’t be looking back. But at the end of the row, he sees how straight or otherwise the finished row is and can take corrective action. It’s constantly looking to Jesus. The Luke 9 passage is about opposition and the cost of discipleship. We look to Jesus when encountering both.
I am in New Zealand for 6 months and I’ve been going down memory lane. Auckland Uni was where Jesus met me and asked me to follow Him. Remembering what Jesus told me back then helps me look ahead. Looking back while looking forward.
It’s not a bad idea to take stock of whether we are on track: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Ploughing ahead without the Lord’s directions could mean losing those clear lines or even digging in the wrong paddock. James and John checked on Jesus’ directions when their passion could have led to destructive consequences (Luke 9:54-56).54 ‘ …they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them.’ It seemed a spiritual thing to defend their master’s status; also, hadn’t the great prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven? Jesus sets them straight; He had come to save not destroy lives.
No doubt, James and John remembered Jesus’ rebuke later. I hope the three who made excuses for delaying their commitment to following Jesus remembered his incisive rejection of their excuses (vv. 57-62). Remembering can produce two types of longing – trying to hold on to something you can’t anymore – an elusive wish. Or remembering so as to propel forward in renewed faith. May remembering the words of Jesus propel our faith to faithfully follow Him.
So what have I remembered here in NZ while looking ahead? Two things:
1. The Word of God will stand forever so digging into the Bible is vital.
2. Going where Jesus leads me is more important than my personal comfort.