Luke 9:61-62 Another also said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Don’t go back and say goodbye. Does that seem an unreasonable request? Does it apply to everyone? Read on.
1 Kings 19:19-21 So he (Elijah) departed from there and found Elisha… who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.
Double standard? Only if you try to be literal where Jesus is laying down a principle. The principle applied to both men. There was no danger in Elisha going home. This is evident by his actions. He gathered the people, killed the oxen, turned his plow into fuel for the fire, and went after Elijah. Elisha wasn’t turning back. He was turning loose.
The would-be disciple who asked permission to go home wasn’t turning loose. He was turning back. Danger awaited him at home or else Jesus would not have warned him. It wasn’t life threatening danger, but eternal life threatening danger. What waited for him at home is not hard to imagine. Home was comfortable and familiar. No doubt there were one or two aggravating souls, but they were aggravations he knew how to handle. The problem you know is better than the problem you don’t, right? But what happens when you follow Jesus, no man can tell. Jesus knew that for this man, going back was turning back.
The principle applies to all. The world was contrary to Christ. It will be contrary to the one who follows him. But Jesus thinks that following the Son of God is worth everything. What do you think? Turn loose? Or turn back?
What a wonderful Savior he is!