Spring rushed in this year and claimed an early arrival. Winter fell away, released its reign and loosened its grip on my pessimism. So demonstrative was its entrance, Blackberry Winter yielded its attempt at dampening my spirit and decided against an appearance. As I anticipated Nature’s last cold snap, my long-held brace and rigid frame released from me like a long sigh after at last arriving at a destination too far to be driven.
Whew! I am glad Spring is here. I hate cold weather.
Spring smiled with me, inhaled the warm air and announced itself with eager trees leafing above the understory. Grass hastened its turning, exiting dormancy before anyone noticed. Pollen painted every verdant pasture and the Great Laurel decided to bud early this year. Sensing Winter’s retreat, this flowering tree, also called a Late Rhododendron, splayed its branches to greet every sun fleck ray piercing the forest canopy and embraced Spring’s imposition. An eager Spring offers Nature no excuses against marching forth toward optimism.
In Luke’s gospel, chapter 9, we find Jesus and his disciples on the road to Jerusalem for “the time had come for Him to be received up.” Using the phrase “now it happened,” Luke records three encounters Jesus experiences on the way. First, someone says, “Lord, I will follow You wherever you go, but….” Jesus engages a second and says, “Follow me.” “But” came the reply. Then a third says to Jesus, “Lord, I will follow You, but….” Each one offers Jesus excuses for not following Him. Each time Jesus rebukes them. What’s going on here?
We all remember the popular WWJD bracelets. Wearing them made people think. If our thoughts travel a bit farther, the presumption behind the question surfaces. Do we really know what Jesus would have done? The better bracelet might have been WDJD. What did Jesus do? And this leads us to the passage in Luke. Do we want to do what Jesus did? Do we want to go where He went? Do we want to follow without conditions? After all, this is what He asks.
“The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the Kingdom of God. No one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” His three rebukes reveal a truth.
We all want to be martyrs until it’s time to be nailed to the cross. We all want to be homeless until we’re without a home. All want to remedy the future looking back. If we are honest, we can’t do what Jesus did. Latecomers to Jesus, we can’t go where He wants to take us without conditions. It’s clear, at least to me, we aren’t willing.
Commit to living as Christlike as possible — yes. Go where Jesus went — uh-uh. That’s why Jesus came, to go where we could not. That’s what He did.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).