Scribal Error…


In Matthew 8 a scribe comes to Jesus and says, “Master I will follow you wherever you go.” Isn’t that the heart of discipleship, being willing to follow Jesus wherever he goes, wherever he leads? I think so. 

Jesus’ response here always kind of troubled me. He says:

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

The scribe says he is willing to follow Jesus anywhere. So Jesus tells him that he doesn’t have a place to live? In your mind, think of the worst that our Lord endured while he was on this earth. The cross…it’s a no-brainer. Our Lord could have said,

Are you sure you want to follow me wherever I go? I am going to be rejected by the very ones that I came to save. I will be mocked by my creation, those who should worship me. I will be taken to the hill called Calvary where I will endure the death of the cross, bearing the sins of the world, and facing the totality of God’s wrath in the place of every sinner. Are you really sure you are willing to follow me anywhere? 

He doesn’t even have to go there; He knows the minds and heart-intents of all men. As such, He knows that the scribe does not really mean that he will follow the Lord anywhere. Our Lord doesn’t have to say: 

If any man will come after let him deny himself and take up his cross daily…

All He says is: 

I don’t have a place to live

I believe that was enough to scare the scribe away…

What would it take to scare you away?

We should all have the attitude of “Lord I will follow you wherever you go!” But what would it take to scare you away from following? What would our Lord have said to you? 

I don’t have a home. 

I don’t have an ipod. 

I don’t have a week-end home on the lake. 

I don’t make six figures. 

Jesus wants us to follow him with no reservations, no strings attached, and nothing held back. 

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  1. #1 by Justin on June 8, 2008 - 7:15 am

    Nice entry…

    I wonder sometimes if we (ministers/teachers…myself included) do not do a decent enough Job preparing people for what it means to follow Christ. We preach that people SHOULD follow Christ, but, in my experience (as well as my own guiltiness in this), we don’t do a good enough job of saying what that actually means…to “follow Christ”. He says it simply here… “to follow me may mean that you not only are void of creature comforts, but that you may not even have a place to lay your head each night.

    To follow Christ I think has been diluted perhaps…why is it that we sleep easy each night while there are others who have “no place to lay their head”. Isn’t that backwards from what Christ is saying here? That WE, the “Followers” are the ones that will go without, not others. I know it seems like a slight stretch by itself, but in congruency with the gospel message that he preached (like the beatitudes), I think we’ve lost a lot in the simple message of this statement.

    I wonder sometimes if we dilute the gospel message to ONLY salvation, and ignore the revolutionary new era that Christ was ushering in. An era where it wasn’t the poor, outcast, etc… (least of these) that would “have no place to lay their head”, rather it would be those who chose to “put down their nets and become fishers of men” who would end up not sure where or even IF they would find a place to sleep that night.

    Just some thoughts spinning off your entry. Good passage and thoughts.

  2. #2 by bob on June 8, 2008 - 10:51 am

    thanks for being a voice who will say this, dave.

  3. #3 by clearly on June 8, 2008 - 1:09 pm

    “To follow Christ I think has been diluted perhaps…why is it that we sleep easy each night while there are others who have “no place to lay their head”. Isn’t that backwards from what Christ is saying here? That WE, the “Followers” are the ones that will go without, not others. I know it seems like a slight stretch by itself, but in congruency with the gospel message that he preached (like the beatitudes), I think we’ve lost a lot in the simple message of this statement.” – Justin

    Justin, I don’t think Jesus is addressing the homeless problem in this text. I agree with you that you are probably stretching this text.

    I have a feeling that this scribe was willing to reign with Christ, but not willing to suffer with Him. He was willing to follow Jesus to the throne in Jerusalem, but not willing to follow Jesus to the cross. He was so unwilling to actually follow Jesus that he placed his own creature comforts (as you put it) over the need to follow.

    Again, in this text, I think we see yet another person misunderstand the two-advent scheme of eschatology. The scribe didn’t understand that the Son of Man was first coming as a frail, weak Messianic figure, but that later He would come in fury and literal reign (see the differences between Psalm 8 and Daniel 7 and the usage of the term Son of Man). The scribe was interested in following the Daniel 7 version, the one who would reign in glory. However, he was not interested in following the Psalm 8 — weak and lowly Savior.

    In this context, our Lord knew he only cared about the glory and reigning…so He doesn’t even have to mention the cross to scare this scribe away.

  4. #4 by Justin on June 8, 2008 - 5:05 pm

    “I have a feeling that this scribe was willing to reign with Christ, but not willing to suffer with Him. He was willing to follow Jesus to the throne in Jerusalem, but not willing to follow Jesus to the cross. He was so unwilling to actually follow Jesus that he placed his own creature comforts (as you put it) over the need to follow.”

    I think we are saying the same thing, I was just taking it one step further. I don’t think that he was specifically addressing homelessness or poverty, but the holistic message of Christ which MIGHT be something more…something bigger than eternal security. I think this is an example of “the gospel” being more than just salvation. It goes right along with his other teachings and miracles (the bulk of his ministry in other words) that a new era has arrived in Christ…and that INCLUDES the salvation of mankind along with a Christian’s kingdom/social responsibility.

    I agree with your assesment that the focal point narrowed down is what you say…that becoming a follower of Christ has some tough requirements. “picking up your cross” is not an easy thing for anyone. The scribe couldn’t handle it. with you all the way on that one. I was just adding my thoughts about what the “picking up your cross” means, and how modern Christianity maybe, just perhaps, could have possibly made “following Jesus” easier than it really is supposed to be by not focusing on his overall message and actions, which is a bigger agenda than simply salvation. In fact it is the process of God “reconciling the world unto himself”.

    Please don’t see this as a personal accusation, just liked the post and it stirred up some follow-up thoughts in me of Yes, following Christ requires something more, and is not easy… but how bad a job I’ve seen churches do with teaching exactly what the responsibilities of a follower of Christ are! Your post inspired me. Hope you didn’t take it as more than that, sorry if you did!

    peace

  5. #5 by Justin on June 8, 2008 - 5:09 pm

    sorry,
    forgot the second part:
    Yeah, I agree that a big part of all of this is the fact that Christ was not the “Son of Man” that he wanted him to be. But I think that is also a good lesson for us today. I think we tend to follow the Christ we WANT to follow many times instead of the Christ that has called us out to follow him. The Christ we Prefer rather than the Christ who is.

  6. #6 by Nicole on June 9, 2008 - 3:48 am

    Great post Dave! Will be thinking about this one for a while… I have heard the saying that is something like “many people say they are willing to Die for Christ, but how many are willing to truly live for Him?” So very hard to make a daily sacrifice, isn’t it? So hard to willingly go without.

  7. #7 by Laurel Esser on June 19, 2008 - 8:59 am

    Great Post! – Just a few thoughts from D’Aubingne on what following Christ may look like in any situation.

    “Be confessors of Jesus Christ, and let each fulfil this duty in the situation in which God has placed him. Let the magistrate confess Christ in the council; let the mechanic confess him in the workshop, let the man of buisness confess him in the field, let the mother of the family confess him in her house, let the soldier confess him under arms, let each one, whatever may be his situation, regard it as a holy place, in which he is called to confess the Lord.”

    “all ar enot called to confess Christ upon the scaffoldm but everyone ought to have the spirit to ensure it – and this word that we preach to you is as true for tranquil times as for a time of trouble and blood. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

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