"Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first..."
Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but..."
Jesus is Lord. Period. If we believe that Jesus is Lord and Saviour, then Jesus is our Lord and our Saviour. If we believe that Jesus is THE teacher, then Jesus is THE teacher.
This seems harsh to those of us who like to keep our options open, but do the responses of Jesus to these would-be followers surprise us knowing the God of the Bible?
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
Yes, this reality is hard to accept for this American-Western citizen. I value my freedom. I value my ability to choose my life's path. One way makes me nervous. I like believing that whatever is available to me to make me happy is available. What if my commitment to something cuts off an option that I may find valuable later? Is this wise?
Throughout man's story, we hear about the heavenly Father who continually attempts to convince his people that He is good, that He is trustworthy, that He is faithful. Through the same man and woman who allowed evil into paradise, God brings a way to purge the evil. Through the same woman who laughed when told she would give birth to a son, God brings a nation that would be a light to the nations. Through a people grumbling about being rescued from slavery, God brings a way to free all of creation. It's the story of the Bible; people reject, God forgives and restores. There are no "Bible heroes". There is only one Bible hero and that is God.
This is why Jesus is amazed at the centurion's faith and proclaims that he has not found such faith in all of Israel. The military officer knows what it is to follow orders without full understanding. Soldiers follow orders to the point of giving their lives all the time. Why? Because they are absolutely convinced that their lives are worth a cause that is greater than themselves.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When we are convinced that Jesus is good, we will follow Him whereever He leads us. When we are convinced that Jesus is trustworthy, we will not hesitate when He calls us to be His disciple. When we are convinced that Jesus is faithful, we will not even think of telling him "but..."
Jesus is the way. Jesus is the truth. Jesus is the life.
What else do we need?