And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but . . ..” – Luke 9:61a
Have you seen what’s going on in the State of Washington, in Seattle and Portland? In Seattle demonstrators are going through the suburbs terrifying homeowners and demanding white residents give up their homes to black people as reparations. In Portland rioters are beating people in the streets based on their race. One man who left the safety of his truck was beaten, kicked in the head and left unconscious on the ground. He’s in critical condition.  A five-year old boy in North Carolina was executed by a man; shot in the head in front of his two sisters because he rode his bicycle on the man’s lawn. All of these incidents and many more have a racial element to them. And there are numerous similar atrocities happening in many of our cities throughout our nation. We’ve come a long way since the death of George Floyd on February 28th. And it isn’t progress, its digression. This is a cringeworthy opening paragraph. It’s incendiary. It just keeps getting worse. What we’ve seen the last few months in our nation and in this world has been heartrending. Without God, life always culminates in cringeworthy heartbreaking conclusions. Always.
We’re in a very bad place. What we’re seeing is what happens when social ills are addressed in a godless way. This is the “best” humanity has to offer. With so much unrest, unbridled lawlessness, and violence you’d think there would be a call for more police, more law and order. But the exact opposite is being called for. There is a call for defunding the police! It’s absurd. People on the streets know that. But those from the ivory tower of theory and ideology are imposing their will through their collegiate and “higher” educational disciples. It’s nonsensical and irrational. It’s hard to make sense of. It’s what happens when God is removed from the human equation. “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).
I’m not so obtuse to think that what is happening is solely the product of a racial divide in our nation. It’s being portrayed that way. But there is more going on here. There is a dark revolutionary spirit, an insurrectionist agenda that is permeating this upheaval. It’s no accident that organizations like Antifa and Black Lives Matter are Marxist based groups.  There is a better answer to godless Marxist ideology.  And truly, Christians, who have the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16) should not allow themselves to be intertwined with godless movements.  “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Christian, how do you answer those questions?
As Christians we should be taking the lead in dealing with sins in society. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). But because we have been dormant, lethargic, inactive, lackadaisical, Laodicean, the world has stepped into the void left by our inactivity and inserted their godless dark tactics of force and violence. Do you hear God calling? “Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:14-18). Those inspired words are for us Christian.
But all of this is the logical conclusion when people lag behind God’s will or lunge ahead of God’s will. It’s what happens when God is edited out of the human life equation. It’s what happens when God is forgotten.
And this is exactly what God predicted for the “last days”:
- 2 Timothy 3:1–7 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
These are certainly perilous times. People are full of and loving for themselves. The riotous looting is a vivid example of this. People love and live for money. Our representatives in government are enriching themselves at the expense of we citizens. Thankfully our president gets it and has donated each bit of the quarterly salary due him, to a worthy cause. Our political representatives are competing with each other by bulbous boasting and proud delusions of grandeur. The rioters are burning Holy Bibles. That’s sounds like blasphemy and an “unholy” act to me. More and more we see the rise of Satanism and witchcraft. Again, unholiness is on the rise.
“Disobedient to parents”? This seems to be the norm nowadays. Too often children rule over parents not visa versa. There is a general breakdown in the family unity that is evidence of the disorder that comes without God.
Are people unthankful? They sure are. Those roaming the streets and trying to bring down this nation have been fed a skewered propagandized and one-sided negative view of this country and its opportunities. Think I’m waxing unreasonably patriotic? Well, just ask yourself, are people trying to get into our nation or leave our nation? If our nation was so bad, why are people breaking into it rather than fleeing from it. They aren’t clamoring and climbing walls to get into social nations. Socialist-Communist walls, like the old “Iron Curtain” were made to keep people in, not keep them out. If we step back from our feelings and look objectively at the facts regarding America, there is a lot to be thankful for. Certainly, our nation is worth fixing not scrapping.
Unloving? Is what you see loving your neighbor as yourself? No. Unforgiving? People are digging up the past and inciting revenge rather than reconciliation. Slander? Whoa boy you bet. “Without self-control”? Are you kidding? Absolutely. “Brutal, despisers of good”? Check that too. The level of brutality in our society is rampant and unprecedented. ”Traitors”? When people root for the economic downfall of a nation because they don’t like the administration, that’s traitorous. Politicians are rooting for war and for our nation’s competitors to beat us out in trade deals. When politicians “serve” this nation for decades, some 30, 40, 50, even 60 years, and things stay the same except for their status as millionaires, that’s treachery.
“Headstrong, haughty”? Yes indeed. There’s no talking to people. There’s no public dialogue allowed. It’s either “my way or the highway.” Civility is evaporated. Truth is the new hate speech. Anyone not towing the party line is denounced in the most severe derogatory demeaning terms, e.g. “bigot,” “hater,” “fascist,” etc.
“Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”? There is legislation being considered to protect pedophiles.  Legislating the abuse of children for the sake of pleasure is about as low as someone can go. There is a move to add pedophiles to the grouping of societally acceptable sexual designations.  And through all of this decadence and darkness much of the church has only “a form of godliness but denying its power.” What’s the solution? What’s the answer?
The answer, the solution, I contend, is the Lordship of Jesus in life. What is that? Why is it so important? In Luke 9 the chapter ends with three interactions of people from this world with Jesus. Each is considering following Jesus. In these words, we will see the definition of Lordship, and the importance of it.
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
Jesus is Lord. At this point in His ministry, Jesus was popular. Therefore, when a ministry is popular, it is going to attract people who want to jump on the bandwagon. This first inquirer said to Jesus, “Lord, I will follow You where you go.” The term “Lord” (Greek kurios) as a noun means lord, master, ruler, sir. As an adjective it can mean supreme controller, owner, master, lord. “Lord” refers to someone who has power and authority. One commentary describes the development of its meaning as follows:
Originally kurios was an adjective which meant “to have power, authority.” The term also functioned as a noun, and in that case, it meant “lord, master, ruler.” It could be an address reserved for those with a superior status (“sir”). In classical Greek kurios might be applied to the gods, but it was not usually a divine title. That did not happen until the later Hellenistic period when the Oriental emperors over the Greek people took the title for themselves, according to their custom. Later, some Roman emperors also employed the title kurios to themselves. They also promoted the notion of emperor worship and considered themselves divine. Here is where the term came to have religious connotations. Since Christians were unable to acknowledge such “gods,” they often met with severe persecution from the official government.
The Septuagint (The Greek translation of the Old Testament) has the word kurios or “lord” 9000 times. 6000 or two thirds of those Septuagint occurrences are used to translate YHWH, the holiest name of God. Kurios occurs in the New Testament over 700 times. 200 of those occurrences of the word happen in the inspired two volume work of Luke, the Gospel of Luke and Acts.
God is LORD
Each Person of the Trinity are referred to with Kurios (Father – Mark 12:11/Psalm 118:22; Holy Spirit – Mark 12:36/Psalm 110:1; Jesus – Acts 4:26/Psalm 2:1f.). But the thing we need to capture in our minds and hearts is that God is LORD. God is not Someone we can take or leave. God is Someone who we owe our existence to. God is Someone who oversees and provides for us. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). King David in the Old Testament, at the end of his life, was inspired to write of God’s Lordship in the following way:
- 1 Chronicles 29:11–13 – 11Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. 12Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13“Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.
That is not Someone you can take or leave or ignore. That is Someone you need to bow down to and obey. That is Someone who deserves our worship and adoration. That is Someone who is our LORD. This is Someone we should love supremely, instead of ourselves. This is Someone who we trust for our material wealth. This is Someone we should live before in humility and reverence. This is Someone who should be the Head of our families. This is Someone who we should be thankful for. This is Someone who we should live in holiness before, and whose love is coursing through our spiritual veins. This is Someone who we so value relating to that we forgive others for fear of irreconcilable differences hindering our higher relationship with Him. This is Someone who we speak in the sight of, live temperately in the sight of, are kind and good in the sight of. This is Someone who drives us to be loyal and humble in the way we live. This is Someone, Who, as our LORD, can change us and everyone around us, for the better. This is why Lordship is so important.
Jesus is LORD
That Kurios is the term used to refer to God becomes all the more important when we realize Kurios is the name most often used with reference to Jesus. A commentary states:
We note that kurios is the name most frequently applied to Jesus Christ. The extensive use of the name obviously is because the writers invested this term with more than just an ordinary meaning. The title is applied in its ultimate and divine sense to Jesus. “Jesus Lord” chiefly refers to the elevated and glorified Christ. It is a title which God has given him in response to His saving work: “Wherefore (because of His abasement and death) God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). God has, through the resurrection and the ascension of Christ to the right hand of the Father, “made that same Jesus . . . both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). 
The Old Testament witness to God as YHWH is remarkably applied to Jesus consistently in the New Testament. Here the New Testament is uniquely underscoring the reality that Jesus is Lord in the divine sense (e.g., Psalm 102:26f./ Hebrews 1:10-12 passim the New Testament; Isaiah 40:3; Joel 2:32/Romans 10:13; Malachi 3:1/Mark 1:2-4;). Almost 20 New Testament allusions and citations to Psalm 110 are applied to Jesus (e.g., Matthew 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:35; Romans 8:34; passim the New Testament writings). 
Scripture tells us Jesus is Lord over:
- Jesus is Lord over the angels – Heb. 1:4; Rev. 5:11-12
- Jesus is Lord over Satan – Luke 10:18; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 4:4; Revelation 12:8-9
- Jesus is Lord over creation – Colossians 1:15-16
- Jesus is Lord over the Church – Colossians 1:18
- Jesus is Lord over-all – 1 Corinthians 15:25; Eph. 1:10; Phil. 2:5-11; Colossians 1:20; 2:15
Jesus is LORD!
Jesus as Lord is a Work of the Holy Spirit
“Jesus is Lord” is a work of the Spirit in us. To the carnal Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). Indeed, the work of the Holy Spirit is to help us live with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Bible states:
- 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 – 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
We do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Jesus. That is because He shed His blood on the cross to purchase us (e.g. 1 Peter 1:18-19). And that is a Lordship message. It’s the Lordship of Jesus message the Holy Spirit communicates to our heart and empowers us to live by.
Jesus set apart as Lord in our heart. The Christian is to sanctify or set apart Jesus as Lord in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15). And the Lordship of Jesus implies obedience to His word (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21). Confessing Jesus as Lord without obeying Him as Lord, is like one building a house on the sand and doomed to fall (Luke 6:49). The final judgment is in the hands of our Lord Jesus (2 Thess. 1:7-10). Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, is Lord (Acts 2:36; Phil. 2:5-11). All of this is life changing truth for humanity. Jesus as Lord makes all the difference in this fallen world.
Is Jesus Your Lord?
In his book The Essentials of Discipleship, Francis M. Cosgrove Jr. defines the lordship of Jesus in the following way:
“The lordship of Christ is the daily submission and surrender of our entire self to the authority and leadership of Jesus Christ, recognizing his sovereign right to rule preeminently over us. . .. The lordship of Jesus Christ in a believer’s life is the most crucial issue in Christian living.” 
Following Jesus as Lord is intertwined with our saving experience. The Bible states:
- Romans 10:9–10 – 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
- Philippians 2:5–11 – 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- 1 Peter 3:15 – 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Is Jesus your Lord? The question remains, “Is Jesus your Lord?” What does that mean? The way Jesus responds in the concluding verses of Luke 9 is a call and challenge to following Him as Lord. Indeed, the only appropriate way to follow Jesus, is as Lord.
Jesus was not “seeker friendly” in the sense that He accurately conveyed the cost of following Him. What Jesus responds to this person is challenging. Notice, Jesus doesn’t bend over backward to get followers. Jesus doesn’t give the Seeker Friendly response. No, Jesus speaks directly and truthfully. Todays “seeker friendly” tactics of segments of the church is dishonest at best and exploitative and damning at worst. Today it seems like some churches will do anything or say anything to fill the pews or chairs. Truth is compromised. The result is people who may be in the church, but who are spiritually weak or even dead and inoculated against the everlasting gospel of Jesus.
That’s not what we see Jesus doing here. That’s not what will change and transform this world. Jesus doesn’t sugar coat what following Him entails. Jesus invites people to abundant life (John 10:10). But He also tells them the truth. Jesus speaks of “cost” (e.g. Luke 14:28). He paid the bill for our sins. But He also speaks of denying self, taking up our cross and following Him (Luke 9:23-26). We are called to follow His example (e.g. John 13:15; Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). Jesus was all about a true witness (John 18:37). That means we should be too.
This passage of scripture is challenging to those living affluent lifestyles in an affluent culture. This chapter ends with Jesus’ challenging call to following Him as Lord in the most important areas of life.
First, are you willing to follow Jesus as Lord over your home and where you live? Jesus says to the first inquirer who asks, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go”:
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Are you willing to trust Jesus for your material needs? Jesus says in other words, “If you are going to follow Me, you are going to have to trust the Lord to provide shelter for you. Animals like foxes and birds, have holes and nests to live in, but they are provided by the LORD. Following Christ is a transient life in many ways. This world is not our home. We need to realize that and stop living entirely for the things of this world. Leonard Ravenhill used to challenge, “Are the things you’re living for worth Jesus dying for?” That’s a good question. How would you answer it?
If you follow Jesus, it doesn’t mean you can’t invest in homes or other worldly things. What it does mean though that you are available to the Lord to pick up and move leaving those things behind if He so desires that for you. It means you will stay where He wants you to stay and move to where He wants you to move. Later in Luke Jesus will say those who follow Him must, “count the cost” (Luke 14:28). Are you willing to do that?
Second, are you willing to follow Jesus as Lord over traditions that are sacred to you? Jesus next takes the initiative in calling this next person to follow Him”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
The first person seeks out Jesus to follow Him. But here, Jesus calls a person to “Follow Me.” What do we learn from this person’s response?
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
This is not ministry at the expense of marriage and family. This on the surface seems to be a harsh insensitive word by Jesus. I do not believe Jesus is calling this person to abandon family. Some have taken it that way. But would Jesus, for instance, in whose eyes marriage and family and children are sacred, would He destroy a family or rip it apart as part of His mission? Jesus loved the little children and they were examples of how His followers could attain to true greatness (cf. Luke 9:48; Matthew 18:1-6). Marriage and the relationship of a husband to wife is God’s inspired means of Jesus relating to His Bride the Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). Young pastor Timothy was warned by Paul about neglecting family because of ministry:
- 1 Timothy 5:8 – 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
That’s a pretty clear statement in support of a minister’s family being a priority. If you look at the qualifications of leaders in ministry, you see such words as, “the husband of one wife,” “one who rules his own household well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (cf. 1Timothy 3). These words all speak to the importance of family relationships not selfishly indulging in ministry at the expense of those relationships. A pastor should be a good husband and a family man.
So no, I do not believe Jesus would call people to follow Him in a way that contradicts other portions of scripture. I do not believe Jesus is saying we should follow Him at the expense of marriage and family. Ministry done right should not cost us our marriage and family. If God is in our venture of faith, then our marriage and family will be enhanced and blessed in the process.
This is ministry at the expense of traditions. But there was a reason for Jesus saying what He did. Burying family members was a sacred duty in Jewish culture. Why then would Jesus say such a thing? The “father” who the person wanted to bury was already dead. Once that happens, the priority shifts to those still living. “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). We must focus on those who are still living, who still have opportunity to set their eternal destiny in order with God in Christ. The point Jesus is making here therefore, is that following Him and preaching the kingdom must take priority over traditions.
Years ago, when my father died, it was a devastating loss to me. I loved my father dearly. We had a great relationship. My father died when I was only in ministry for a few years. I remember the Sunday after he died and after we had his memorial service, many were wondering if I would still preach that Sunday. It would have bene reasonable to take some time off. But I didn’t see it that way. I knew my father was with our Heavenly Father. For me, there was just no doubt that I must “preach the kingdom of God.” And so, I showed up, and Jesus gave me grace and power to preach His word that Sunday. And He blessed that service. The preaching of the kingdom of God must take priority if you are going to follow Jesus.
Third, are you willing to follow Jesus with not “buts”? It states:
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
The key word in this inquirer’s is “but.” He said, “I will follow You but.” There can be no buts in following Jesus. We don’t’ follow Jesus on our terms BUT on His terms.
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Are you willing to make a total commitment? This was a Semitic idiom that spoke of someone who started something but then didn’t finish what they started. Practically speaking, someone ploughing a field, if they look back or behind themselves, will plough crooked. Try walking forward while looking backward and you will walk crooked, likely bump into things, and be hindered. What’s the application here for a disciple? Simple, the disciple whose mind and heart aren’t totally committed to following Jesus, but are distracted by things in the past or behind them, that person is not suited to be a disciple of Jesus. If you are going to follow Jesus and be involved in His kingdom work, you need a singular focus and concentration of mind. You can’t be like the Children of Israel who were constantly complaining and pining for what they left behind in Egypt (e.g. Exodus 15:24; 16:2; 17:3).
Fit for the Master’s use. The word Jesus uses to describe the unacceptability of a disciple looking back is that they would not be “fit” (Greek euthetos) “for the kingdom of God.” “Fit” means suitable, suitable for a position or office, useable, fit. The idea is that of being well placed. If you look back from following Jesus, you will be out of place and off course. To be “fit” means to be in the right place at the right time. It means being where you need to be. It means doing what you need to do. It means being in step with Jesus. Are you “fit” for the Master’s use?
No turning back. Jesus, when He was teaching about the end times, commented, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Lot’s wife was rescued from Sodom and Gomorrah. But on the way of escape, she looked back at the decadent debauched city and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).
If you’re going to always be looking back and dwelling on the “good old days,” or what you’ve left behind, then you’re not fit or useable to Jesus. If you constantly look back at what you left behind, you’re out of place in following Jesus. To look back is evidence you’ve lost perspective of what is truly important. To look back is evidence of a lack of appreciation and thanksgiving for the deliverance provided for you in Jesus. To look back means you’re not living with Jesus as your Lord.
If you’ve ever tried to walk forward while looking backward you have a good picture of what is meant here. When you try to walk forward by looking backward, you’re going to end up bumping your head, injured, or walking into something, falling off a curb or ledge. When we follow Jesus, keep your gaze straight ahead and fixed on Him (e.g. Hebrews 12:1-3).
No bandwagon bros and broettes. Jesus was popular at this time so many people wanted to jump on His bandwagon. When a ministry is thriving and growing and exploding with excitement, a lot of people want to jump on board. But Jesus brings those seeking to follow Him to the reality of following Him. A disciple, like Jesus, does not call this world their home (v. 58). A disciple like Jesus, must set aside all other priorities for His purposes such as preaching the gospel (v. 60). Lastly, if you are going to follow Jesus, you do so on His terms, not yours. So, if you’re just looking to gain some popularity or notoriety, if you’re just bandwagon bros or broettes, stop. Stop and get alone with Jesus. Ask Him to show you your true motives and to purify your heart by faith (Acts 15:8-9).
Are you ready to answer Jesus’ call to be sent? Do you have time for Jesus? Do you have time to be His disciple? If you’re going to follow Jesus you will need to consider seriously the cost. Jesus had no established place to live. He put following Him over attending to even traditional family matters. And He said if someone puts their hand to plow with Him, they wouldn’t be fit for the kingdom of God if they looked back. So, I ask, do you have time for Jesus, to be His disciple?
Here’s a concluding prayer to get you started on your journey with Jesus:
Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I admit my sin and ask Your forgiveness. I ask Your forgiveness not based on any effort or good works of my own. I ask Your forgiveness because I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay my penalty for sin. I accept Jesus as my Savior from sin. Please forgive me for my sins and give me spiritual life. Holy Spirit, indwell me. Help me to live with Jesus as my Lord. Help me to follow Jesus in whatever He allows in my life, in whatever He directs me to do. Help me to be what I need to be, to do what You call me to do, for Your glory, until Jesus returns. Please show me what You would have me to do, and please empower me to faithfully serve You for the rest of my life. Jesus, be my Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pray that prayer, and then come on, there’s a world that needs changing for the glory of God. Jesus is Lord!
 Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Zeta-Kappa.
 Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Zeta-Kappa.
 Francis M. Cosgrove Jr. The Essentials of Discipleship, (Colorado Springs, CO: NAVPRESS 1980). P. 37