And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said to him, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go.…
I. From this passage we may naturally consider THE GREAT NUMBER WHO REGARD RELIGION AS SIMPLY A POETIC EMBELLISHMENT, AN AESTHETIC SPECIES OF ETHICS, AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. The New Testament idea of religion is no such thing as this. That idea is that religion is life itself. No man ever got religion; if he ever had any, he lived it. To follow Christ is not a mere polish of things that are substantial, valuable, and needful in this life: it is the reconstruction of the whole man upon a higher pattern.
II. THE IDEA IS CURRENT THAT RELIGION IS A LIMITATION AND RESTRICTION INSTEAD OF AN ENJOYMENT AND AN EXALTATION, that it is, therefore, to be put off as long as it is safe to put it off. You can begin to be a Christian instantly. But you cannot accomplish it instantly. The work is progressive; it is life-long; but when once entered upon heartily it is the sweetest, the noblest, and the best work with which life can concern itself.
III. From the passages read we may LEARN THE WAY IN WHICH MEN ARE ACCUSTOMED, WHEN FROM VARIOUS CONSIDERATIONS THEY ARE MOVED TO A CONSIDERATION OF HIGHER THINGS, TO TREAT THEIR ASPIRATIONS AND THEIR LUMINOUS HOURS. The two or three instances which are grouped together here, represent men that either are moved to follow, or are called to follow, the Christ-life; and the invitation is, in the second case, the same as if it had been an impulse proceeding from the party himself. You will observe, then, from the whole attitude of Christ, and from what we know of His nature, that He saw through the hollow pretences of these men. One wanted to follow Him with the expectation of loaves and fishes, and honours, and prerogatives. Another wanted to follow Him; but he wanted first to go home and bury his father. The inspiration was not strong enough to constitute a spring of action and of life. The guise of filial piety. Christ's reply — spiritualizing it was, "Let men that do not care for the kingdom of God perform the rites of sepulture; as for you, follow Me." And then, in the other case in which the man was willing to follow Christ, he wanted to go back and say "good-bye" to his father and mother, and brothers and sisters, before he went. This was almost frivolous; for the following of Christ could not be a separation from all that was dearest to him in this life. As it was then, so it is now. Mostly these alleged reasons of doubt, of occupation, of pleasure, and of bias are simple excuses. Men do not wish to enlarge their lives. They are content with smallness. Sin has beggared them. They not only are living upon penurious doles on the lower plane of life, but they are content to live so. I say to every one that has been wandering, and is wandering, and yet at times is haunted with longings, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you": but seek that first; seek it in earnest; seek it at once; seek it with all your heart; make it your life; and then life will be a thousandfold greater, fuller, and richer to you.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.