Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 8:18-22.

My first thought whenever I read this passage is “Why is Jesus being so harsh?” These two men just wanted to follow Jesus, but he responded with things that probably made them want to leave. Was he actually being harsh to them, or is that simply how we first read it?

Jesus responded to the scribe honestly. During his three years of ministry, Jesus and his disciples were nomads, constantly wandering from town to town sharing the true meaning of the Law and Prophets. This scribe most likely interpreted being his disciple as subscribing to a belief. However, Jesus saves this man a lot of heartache by setting this straight. He describes a situation that doesn’t sound very comfortable and doesn’t leave much room for hesitation. The scribe would have to give up everything that he had to follow Jesus because Jesus wasn’t sticking around.

To the second man, Jesus sounds much more harsh. Why can’t the guy just bury his dad? Jesus was not forbidding the man from burying his father [some interpretations hold that the man’s father was merely close to death and not actually dead yet]. He was driving home the point that following him must be unconditional. We cannot say “I will follow you, Jesus, but I’m gonna do this one thing first.” Following Jesus is a decision to be made now. It is a decision you have to keep making each and every day. And anything that hinders you from following Jesus completely, whether that is a relationship, a habit, or doubt, must be cast off. Jesus has to be above all else.

Not only was Jesus very blunt with these men about what it would take to follow him, but he does the same for us! Being a disciple of Christ is not a weekend job. It is not a joke. It has everything to do with your current, physical life and your eternal, spiritual life. It is a difficult task to make following Jesus the most important thing in our life, but that is what we are called to do. If this passage says anything, it is that there are no exceptions! Cast off the things holding you back from fully experiencing a relationship with him!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. What does it look like to follow Jesus unconditionally?

  1. Is there a relationship, a habit, or doubt that holds you back from following Jesus unconditionally? Is there something Jesus would call out in your life if you asked to follow Him? (This could refer to the initial commitment to follow Christ but, if you already made that choice, apply this question to following Jesus daily.)

  1. What would it look like for you to let go of the things that are holding you back? Is it easy or hard to trust that giving up those things is worth it?

*If this question is hard for you and you’re battling if it’s worth it, I would encourage you to talk to a mentor. Ask what they have had to give up in order to follow Jesus daily. Ask if they would go back and change this decision or if it ended up being worth it.*

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Ask Jesus to show you what it would look like to follow Him unconditionally. Pray that, as He opens your eyes to the things that hinder following Him unconditionally, you would see your need to let go of those things. It’s worth it. Every time. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Song: I Have Decided (Live) - Elevation Worship
Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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