Luke 9:61
Still another said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first let me bid farewell to my family."
Decision and IndecisionW. Clarkson Luke 9:61
The Secret of Successful WorkR.M. Edgar Luke 9:37-62
A Would be Disciple RepulsedW. G. Lewis.Luke 9:57-62
EnduringLuke 9:57-62
Faring Wholly with ChristC. S. Robinson, D. D.Luke 9:57-62
Following JesusD. C. Hughes, M. A.Luke 9:57-62
He Who Looks Back is UnfitW. Hoyt, D. D.Luke 9:57-62
Testing SincerityArchdeacon Farrar.Luke 9:57-62
The Election of ChristP. T. Forsyth, M.A.Luke 9:57-62
The Faithful Followers of Christ Must Expect Troubles InT. Manton, D. D.Luke 9:57-62
The Poverty of ChristReformation AnecdotesLuke 9:57-62
The True Interpretation of ReligionH. W. Beecher.Luke 9:57-62
The Warning to an Ill-Calculating ProfessorJ. Chalmers, M. A.Luke 9:57-62
Three ApplicantsJ. Chalmers, M. A.Luke 9:57-62
Christ Demands Decision in ReligionW. Curling, M. A.Luke 9:61-62
ConcentrationM. R. Vincent, D. D.Luke 9:61-62
Conditional DiscipleshipW. G. Lewis.Luke 9:61-62
Crooked PloughingDr. Talmage.Luke 9:61-62
Danger in DelayW. Buck.Luke 9:61-62
Danger of ProcrastinationLuke 9:61-62
Danger of Religious IndecisionTheological Sketch-bookLuke 9:61-62
Danger of Trifling with Religious ImpressionsW. G, Lewis.Luke 9:61-62
Duty Permits no DeliberationArchdeacon Farrar.Luke 9:61-62
Fatal DelayJ. T. Davidson, D. D.Luke 9:61-62
Fatal Significance of a Hind LookAnon.Luke 9:61-62
IrresolutionE. Schnadhorst.Luke 9:61-62
Looking BackH. R. Burton.Luke 9:61-62
Lord, I Will Follow Thee: ButJ. T. Davidson, D. D.Luke 9:61-62
Making a Way to ReturnSir John Forbes.Luke 9:61-62
Never Look BackLuke 9:61-62
No Looking BackW. G, Lewis.Luke 9:61-62
No RetreatLuke 9:61-62
No Retreat Possible to the Christian SoldierLuke 9:61-62
PerseveranceCardinal Manning.Luke 9:61-62
Prompt DecisionBiblical TreasuryLuke 9:61-62
Putting the Hand to the PloughN. W. Taylor, D. D.Luke 9:61-62
Reasons Why Men Look Back from the PloughDr. Talmage.Luke 9:61-62
Sermon to Young MenH. Wonnacott.Luke 9:61-62
Spiritual PloughingW. B. Wright.Luke 9:61-62
The Broken ColumnC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 9:61-62
The Danger of Backward LooksJ. Chalmers, M. A.Luke 9:61-62
The Danger of Looking BackJ. Orion.Luke 9:61-62
The Evil of Looking BackT. Manton, D. D.Luke 9:61-62
The Plough and the KingdomM. R. Vincent, D. D., J. P. Thompson.Luke 9:61-62
The Power of a ButJ. R. Bailey.Luke 9:61-62
The Virtue of PerseveranceBishop Ehrler.Luke 9:61-62
The Workman's QualificationW. Clarkson Luke 9:61, 62

Lord, I will follow thee; but, etc. Two trains may leave the same platform and travel for a while along the same lines, and they may look as if they would reach the same terminus; 'but one of them diverges slightly to the right and the other to the left, and then the further they go the greater is the distance that separates them. Two children born under the same roof, brought up under the same religious conditions, are baptized into the same faith, receive the same doctrines, are affected by the same influences; - they should reach the same home. But they do not. One makes a resolution to serve God outright, unconditional, without reserve; he says simply, deliberately, "I will follow thee;" but the other makes a resolution under reserve, with conditions attached - he says, "Lord, I will follow thee; but," etc. The one of these two goes on, goes up, in the direction of piety, zeal, devotedness, sacred joy, holy usefulness; the other goes down in that of hesitation, oscillation between wisdom and folly, and finally of impenitence and spiritual failure. We will look at -


1. They both receive instruction in the common faith; they learn and admit the great fundamental truths of the gospel - the life, death, resurrection, teaching of Jesus Christ.

2. They are both impressed by the surpassing excellence of Christ; for there is in him now, as there was when he lived among men, that which constrains admiration, reverence, attraction.

3. They both feel the desirableness of availing themselves of the blessings of the gospel of grace - of the pardon, peace, joy, worth, hope, immortality, which it offers to the faithful. And when Christ's voice is heard, as it is in many ways, each of these men is prepared to say, "Never man spake, Lord, as thou speakest to me; no one else will give me what thou art offering; evermore give me this living bread, this living water. Lord, I will follow thee."

II. THE MAN OF INDECISION AT THE POINT OF DIVERGENCE. He says not, simply and absolutely, "I will; "he says, "I will follow thee; but," etc. One word more, but how much less in fact and in truth? What is in that qualifying word?

1. But 1 am young, and there is plenty of time. I am a long way off the "three score and ten years;" and all along the road of life there are paths leading into the kingdom; let me go on unburdened by such serious claims as these of thine. "I will," etc., but not yet.

2. But 1 have a bodily as well as a spiritual nature, and I must satisfy its claims. These hungerings and thirstings of the sense are very strong and imperious; let me drink of this cup, let me lay by those treasures first.

3. I am waiting for some decisive intimation from Heaven that my time has come. I do not wish to act precipitately or presumptuously; I am looking for the prompting of the Divine Spirit, the direction of the Divine hand; when the Master says distinctly, "Follow thou me," I will arise at once.

4. I am in embarrassed circumstances, and am waiting until they clear away. The claims of the business or the home are so urgent, so near, so practical, that they consume my time, and I have none to spare for thee; there are bonds I have formed which I do not know how to break, but which must be broken if thy friendship is to be made and kept.

5. But I am old and unable. I have heard thy voice in my ear in earlier days; but I am old and spiritually blind; old and deaf; old and insensitive. I do not expect thee to come this way again; I would follow thee if I felt once more the touch of thy hand upon me.

III. THE GREATNESS AND SADNESS OF HIS MISTAKE. A grievous thing it is for a man to buoy himself up with such false imaginations, to build his house of hope on such shifting sands, to rest the weight of his destiny on such a sapless, strengthless reed.

1. Does death never lay his cold and hard hand on youth? and does not Christ command our strength and our beauty as well as our feebleness and our unsightliness?

2. Does Christ ask us to give up one rightful pleasure? and had we not better sacrifice all wrongful ones? And has he not promised all we need if we do but take the one true step into his kingdom (Matthew 6:33)?

3. No man is waiting for God; but God is waiting for many halting and hesitating human souls. Behold, he stands at the door and knocks!

4. We are not more embarrassed than thousands have been, or more than we shall continue to be. If it is hard to find time, then for a purpose so supreme as this time must be made; if evil friendships are in the way, they must be made to stand out of the way. The voice that speaks from heaven is commanding; the case of our eternal destiny is critical in the very last degree.

5. It is true that long disuse is dangerously disabling, and spiritual capacity wanes with neglect; but men are not too deaf to hear the sovereign voice of Christ, not too blind to find their way to his cross, his table, his kingdom. - C.

Looking back
Theological Sketch-book.
1. This man wished to follow Christ, but there was something of more urgent necessity that must first be attended to. What folly, to put off attention to concerns of soul. Life is uncertain. Every delay is a step towards final impenitence.

2. The person who made this resolution, evidently made it in his own strength. Vain promise. Without grace we cannot follow Christ.

3. The resolution, when formed, seems to depend on the consent of his friends; for, though he speaks only of taking his leave, he probably wished to know whether they approved of the step he was about to take. Had he been influenced by proper motives, instead of leaving them behind, he would rather have endeavoured to bring them with him, to follow Jesus in the way.

4. Instead of following Christ cheerfully and with all his heart, he appeared somewhat dejected at the thought, and must go and take leave of his friends, as if he were about to die, and should see them no more. Such are the melancholy apprehensions which some persons entertain of true religion; they imagine it would be injurious to their worldly interest, and unfit them for the common duties and enjoyments of life, and that therefore they must take a final leave of the concerns of the present world.

5. By going home to his friends, he would expose himself to great temptation, and be in danger of breaking the resolution already formed.(1) This subject may serve as a warning to those who trifle with the calls of the gospel. Here was a looking back, a lingering after the world, and Christ pronounces such to be unfit for the kingdom of God (ver. 62).(2) Nothing but a decided attachment to Christ, and a determination to sacrifice all for His sake, can constitute us His disciples.(3) Let us beware of the ensnaring influence of worldly connections, and of every inordinate affection; for these, rather than grosser evils, are the ordinary impediments to our salvation (Matthew 16:26).

(Theological Sketch-book.)

— "Lord, I will follow Thee: but."

I. First, here comes a man who says, "Lord, I will follow Thee; but I WANT A LITTLE MORE ENJOYMENT OUT OF LIFE BEFORE I BECOME A CHRISTIAN." His notion is that religion is decidedly a melancholy affair, and that from the moment that he becomes a follower of Christ, he must bid adieu to all merriment and pleasure. Secretary Walsingham, an eminent statesman in the time of Queen Elizabeth, in the latter period of his life, retired to a quiet spot in the country. Some of his former gay associates came to him, and made the remark that he was now growing melancholy. "Not melancholy," replied he, "but serious." The mistake of those frivolous courtiers is precisely the mistake made by thousands, that of confounding seriousness with melancholy. The deepest joy is serious, and being serious is stable. Away with the notion that the pleasures of the world are denied to a believer!

II. The next objector comes forward and says, "Lord, I would follow Thee; but THE NATURE OF MY BUSINESS PREVENTS ME." When Adam Clarke was a young man, his employer once bid him stretch short measure to make it enough; but his reply was, "Sir, I can't do it; my conscience won't allow me." He lost his situation, but God found him another. It never pays in the long run to have God against you. It all depends on how your money comes to you, Whether it is better to have it or to want it. Be sure of this, that character and a good conscience are the best capital.

III. Number three starts up, and, in loud and self-asserting tones, proclaims that he has a mind to be religious, but DOES NOT FIND THAT CHRISTIANS ARE ANY BETTER TITAN OTHER PEOPLE. This is a polite way of hinting that they are possibly a little worse. I met with a case in point only the other day. I was visiting in the same house with a man who had been under deep religious impressions, and was " almost persuaded," but he had been repelled by the conduct of certain persons who bore the Christian name. "They were the most unprincipled fellows I ever knew, and their religion disgraced everything they touched." Stop, my friend; say, their hypocrisy disgraced everything they touched." To speak the truth, it was not their religion, but their want of religion, that made them the rogues and scamps they were.

IV. "I would be a Christian," says another, "but YOU KNOW ALL THESE THINGS ARE MATTERS OF MERE SPECULATION. WE CANNOT ARRIVE AT CERTAINTY ON THE SUBJECT OF RELIGION." The objection is plausible, but it is shallow and insufficient.

1. The evidence in favour of Christianity is far stronger than that demanded in respect to other matters which you daily accept, and in which great interests are involved.

2. That evidence furnishes the fullest demonstration of which the nature of the subject admits.

V. I am only to name another objection, and it is perhaps the most insidious and fatal" of all. "Lord, I will follow Thee; but — THERE IS NO HURRY; THERE IS TIME ENOUGH." Remember, a resolution like that, though it quiets conscience, is worth nothing.

(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)

When you have walked through a cemetery, you have frequently seen over a grave a broken column intended to memorialize the death of some one who was taken away in the prime of manhood, before as yet his life had come to its climax. I shall take that picture of the broken column to represent my text. It is a broken text. You expected me to go on and to conclude the sentence: I have broken it off abruptly. That broken column shall also represent the broken resolutions of full many who were once in a hopeful state. As if prepared to witness a good profession, they said, "Lord, I will follow Thee," when there came a heavy blow from the withering hand of sin; and the column was broken short with a "but." So let my text stand. I will not finish it. But so let not your determination stand. The Lord grant by His effectual grace that while you mourn with sincere grief the grave of many a fair resolve which never attained the maturity of true discipleship — cut off with the fatal "but of indecision; you may now be quickened to newness of life. Thus you shall come to the fulness of the stature of a man in Christ. Thus, as a building fitly framed together and growing to completeness, you shall be made meet for a habitation of God through the Spirit. Lord, I will follow Thee: but — ." How remarkably does Scripture prove to us that the mental characteristics of mankind are the same now as in the Saviour's day! We occasionally hear stories of old skeletons being dug up which are greater in stature than men of these times. Some credit the story, some do not, for there be many who maintain that the physical conformation of man is at this day just what it always was. Certainly, however, there can be no dispute whatever among observant men as to the identity of the inner nature of man. The gospel of Christ may well be an unchanging gospel, for it is a remedy which has to deal with an unaltering disease. The very same objections which were made to Christ in the days of His flesh are made to His gospel now. The same effects are produced under the ministry of Christ's servants in these modern times as were produced by His own ministry. Still are the promised hopes which make glad the preacher's heart, blasted and withered by the same blights and the same mildews which of old withered and blasted the prospects of the ministry during our Lord's own personal sojourn in the world.

I. First, then TO EXPOSE YOUR OBJECTIONS. I cannot tell man by man, what may be the precise let that causes you to draw back, but perhaps, by giving a list, I may be directed to describe full many a case exactly, and with precision. Some there be who say, and seem very sincere in the utterance, "Lord, I would be a Christian, I would believe in Thee, and take up the cross and follow Thee, but my calling prevents it. Such is my state of life that piety would be to me an impossibility. I must live, and I cannot live by godliness, therefore I am to be excused for the present from following Christ." "Yes, but," saith another, "if it be not in our calling, yet in my case it is my peculiar position in providence. It is all very well for the minister, who has not to mingle with daily life, but can come up into his pulpit and pray and preach, to make little excuse for men; but I tell you, sir, if you knew how I was situated, you would say that I am quite excusable in postponing the thoughts of God and of eternity. You do not know what it is to have an ungodly husband, or to live in a family where you cannot carry out your convictions without meeting with persecution so ferocious and so incessant, that flesh and blood cannot endure it." "Besides," says another, "I am just now in such a peculiar crisis; it may be I have got into it by my sin, but I feel I cannot get out of it without sin. If I were once out of it, and could start again, and stand upon a new footing, then I might follow Christ." "Yes," says another, "I would follow Christ; I have often felt inclinations to do so; and I have had some longings after better things: but the way of Christ is too rough for me. It demands that I should give up pleasures which I really love." "But," saith another, "that is not my case. I can say I will follow Christ, but I am of such a volatile, changeable disposition, that I do not think I ever shall fulfil my purpose."

II. Soul, thou who sayest, "I will follow Christ, but — ," I now come to EXPOSE THINE IGNORANCE AND THE ILL STATE OF THY HEART. Soul! thou hast as yet no true idea of what sin is. God the Holy Spirit has never opened thine eyes to see what an evil and bitter thing it is to sin against God, or else there would be no " buts." Picture a man who has lost his way, who has sunk into a slough; the waters and the mire are come up to his very throat. He is about to sink in it, when some bright spirit comes, stepping over the treacherous bog, and puts forth to him his hand. That man, if he knows where he is, if he knows his uncomfortable and desperate state, will put out his hand at once. Again: soul, it seems plain to me that thou hast never yet been taught by the Holy Spirit what is thy state of condemnation. Thou hast never yet learnt that the wrath of God abideth on thee. What shall I say more? Yet this once again I will admonish thee. O thou procrastinating, objecting sinner, thou bast never known what heaven is, or else thou wouldst never have a "but."

III. LET ME SHOW THEE THY SIN. When thou saidst, "But," thou didst contradict thyself. The meaning of that rightly read is this, "Lord, I will not follow Thee." That "but" of thine puts the negative on all the profession that went before it. I wish, my hearers, that this morning you would either be led by grace to say, "I will believe," or else were permitted honestly to see the depravity and desperate hardness of your own hearts so as to say, "I will not believe in Christ." It is because so many of you are neither this nor that, but halting between two opinions, that you are the hardest characters to deal with. I know a gentleman of considerable position in the world, who, after having been with me some little time, said, "Now that man is going away, and I shall be just what I was before"; for he had wept under the Word. He compared himself, he said, to a gutta-percha doll; he had got out of his old shape for a little while, but he would go back to what he was before. And how many there are of you of this kind. You will not say, "I will not have Christ"; you will not say, "I will not think of these things." You dare not say, "I disbelieve the Bible," or, "I think there is no God, and no hereafter"; but you say, "No doubt it is true, I'll think of it by and by." You never will, sinner, you never will, you will go on from day to day, harping that till your last day shall come, and you will be found then where you are now, unless sovereign grace prevent.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

This third character, like the first, volunteers his declaration of attachment to the Saviour, appending to it a condition — "Lord, I will follow Thee, BUT let me first go bid them farewell, which are at my house." But — ominous word, treacherous poison, undermining the best resolves, and spoiling the fairest speeches. It is said of that he used to say, "Lord, convert me, but not yet." "Lord, I will follow Thee, But I am not yet good enough." If this be the utterance of real humility, know thou that it is not unworthiness, but unwillingness that alone disqualifies us from following Jesus. It is unconditional determination that He demands. D'Aubigne, the great church historian, says that when he was a student at college, he was much beset by doubts and difficulties in relation to questions connected with Divine truth; and it was his wont to repair to an old Christian, in very humble life, whose rich experience had often served to help the young student. But at length, upon preferring some grave difficulty, D'Aubigne received an unexpected rebuff, for his aged friend replied, "Young man, I shall not answer anymore of these questions of yours. If I settle them one day, new perplexities arise the next day. The great question for you is — 'Do you mean to belong altogether to Christ?'" That is the shortest way of setting at rest these misgivings. Give yourselves to the Saviour, and He will smooth your path, and show the way.

(W. G. Lewis.)

This man was in the spirit of true discipleship, resolved to follow Jesus, and actually beginning it. But he felt a desire first to return to his relatives and give his last commission to them, and bid them farewell: "Lord, I will follow Thee; but suffer me first go bid them farewell that are at home at my house." This request had something of a backward look in it; it indicated somewhat of a desire to trim between Christ and His kindred; at least there was a positive danger in it to the discipleship he had just avowed; for, once away from the Master's side and among his own unbelieving kindred, he would be beset by them as to the step he was taking; he would be expostulated with and warned against it, and threateningly dissuaded from it; tears, entreaties, influences of all sorts would be brought to bear on him to turn him from his intent and keep him at home as he was wont to be. And then, perchance, his mind would waver, and his resolution become shaken, and his faith fail, or be much unfitted for the high calling of the gospel. This danger the Lord Jesus keenly perceived, and clearly points out: and, while not forbidding him from doing as he desired, yet warns him to beware: "No man," etc., as if He said, "No man who follows Me can at the same time turn towards the world; if he do so he will fail in his following, perhaps in the way of it, certainly in the work of it. Such trimming is treason to Me, and shows those pursuing it unfit for My kingdom and work."

(J. Chalmers, M. A.)

Some time since, in a little watering-place in the west of Scotland, I was pointed to a spot where, a few years ago, a sad and strange incident had occurred. Several workmen were engaged in calking the bottom of a vessel that had been drawn up on the sandy beach. On a sudden the cry was raised that the ship was listing over, and all the men started to their feet, and hastened to escape — all but one poor fellow, who was late in stirring, and the huge hulk fell upon him, imprisoning his lower extremities and loins, but leaving head and chest uninjured. At first it was thought there was little danger, for the ship rested gently on him, and the sand was soft. So they tried to shore up the vessel, and willing hands brought ropes, and blocks, and wedges, and earnest strength. But they soon discovered that the thing was impossible, from the nature of the bottom. The man was jammed there, and they could not extricate him. There was just one awful hour before the advancing tide would cover him. Oh! with what agonizing entreaty did he appeal to them to rescue him. It was too late. He saw the tide of death approaching, but he had not the power to rise and escape; and none could deliver him. Another hour; and as the vessel calmly rose and glided on the waters, the pale corpse floating in to shore seemed to preach the solemn lesson, that even a few moments' delay may be fatal. And so has it happened with many a soul, that, trifling with his season of grace, has resolved to get up and follow Christ at some future day; but that day came, and he could not stir; all capacity for resolve had passed away; his heart was dead and motionless as a stone. If you have but half a desire then to follow Christ, let no "buts" block the way, those flimsy objections which drown so many in perdition, and make you the butt of Satan's ridicule; but instantly arise, and say with Peter (though in a Divine strength that will not fail you), "Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake."

(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)

A recent discovery at Pompeii has brought to light the fact of a priest fleeing from the temple when the warning came of the city's approaching doom. But the treasures of the temple — why should he leave them? He is supposed to have returned to obtain them. Again he sets out, but had not proceeded far before the destruction came and he was lost. Had it not been for the treasures, his life had been spared.

Caesar had a letter given him by Artimedorus the morning he went to the senate, wherein notice was given him of all the conspiracy of his murderers; so that with ease he might have prevented his death: but neglecting the reading of it, he was slain. What can be done to-day, therefore, delay not till to-morrow.

(W. Buck.)


1. The unchangeableness of God.

2. The unchangeableness of Divine charity.

3. The nature of virtue.


1. Prayer.

2. Energy.

3. Frequent reception of the Holy Communion.

4. The remembrance of heaven.

(Bishop Ehrler.)

This man offered himself, but his heart was not sufficiently loosened from the world.

1. His request. He offers himself to be a disciple of Christ, but with an exception — that he might take his farewell at home, and dispose of his estate there, and so secure his worldly interests. You will say, what harm in this request? Elijah granted it to Elisha (1 Kings 19:21). I answer —(1) The evangelical ministry exceedeth the prophetical, both as to excellency and necessity, and must be gone about speedily without any delay. The harvest was great, and such an extraordinary work was not to be delayed nor interrupted.(2) If two men do the same thing, it followeth not that they do it with the same mind. Things may be the same as to the substance or matter of the action, yet circumstances may be different. Christ knew this man's heart, and could interpret the meaning of his desire to go home first.(3) Those that followed Christ on these extraordinary calls were to leave all things they had, without any further care about them (Matthew 19:21; Matthew 4:19, 20; Matthew 9:9). Therefore it was preposterous for this man to desire to go home to order and dispose of his estate and family, before he complied with his call.(4) In resolution, estimation, and vow, the same is required of all Christians, when Christ's work calleth for it — "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).

2. Christ's answer, which consists of a similitude, and its interpretation joined together.(1) The metaphor or similitude. Taken from ploughmen, who cannot make straight furrows if they look back. So, to look back, after we have undertaken Christ's yoke and service, rendereth us unfit for the kingdom of God. Putting our hands to the plough is to undertake Christ's work, or to resolve to be His disciples. Looking back denotes a hankering of mind after the world, and also a return to the worldly life.For, first we look back, and then we go back.

1. Upon what occasions we may be said to look back. A double pair I shall mention. The first sort of those:(1) That pretend to follow Christ, and yet their hearts hanker after the world, the cares, pleasures, and vain pomp thereof.(2) When men are discouraged in His service by troubles and difficulties, and so, after a forward profession, all cometh to nothing — "If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38). The former is looking back, and this is drawing back. The one arises out of the other; all their former zeal and courage is lost, they are affrighted and driven out of their profession, and relapse into the errors they have escaped. There is a looking back with respect to mortification, and a looking back with respect to vivification.(a) With respect to mortification, which is the first part of conversion. So we must not look back, or mind anything behind us, which may turn us back, and stop us in our course.(b) With respect to vivification, or progress in the duties of the holy and heavenly life. So the apostle telleth us — "But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before" (Philippians 3:13), etc. Farther progress in holiness is the one thing that we should mind, and that above all other things.

2. How ill it becometh those that have put their hands to the spiritual plough.(1) In respect of the covenant into which they enter, or the manner of entrance into it, which is by a fixed unbounded resignation of themselves unto God. Till this be done, we are but half Christians.(2) With respect to the duties of Christianity, or that part of the kingdom of God which concerneth your obedience to Him, you are never fit for these while the heart cleaveth to earthly things, and you are still hankering after the world. A threefold defect there will be in our duties.

(a)They will be unpleasant.

(b)They will he inconstant.

(c)Imperfect in such a degree as to want sincerity.(3) In respect of the hurt that cometh from their looking back, both to themselves and to religion.(4) With respect to the disproportion that is between the things that tempt us to look back, and those things that are set before us.

(a)The things that tempt us to look back are the pleasures of sin and the profits of the world. Both are but a temporary enjoyment (Hebrews 11:25).

(b)The things that are before you are God and heaven; reconciliation with God, and the everlasting fruition of Him in glory.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. Many seem disposed to follow Christ, and yet are kept back by their domestic and worldly affairs.

II. The concerns of religion are so very important, that they admit no excuse nor delay.

1. Religion is the most important concern, infinitely more so than any domestic and worldly concern.

2. Worldly business is no excuse for neglecting religion, because both may go on together, if a man will "guide his affairs with discretion."

3. To this I add — that business and domestic affairs will flourish the better, if religion be minded as the principal thing.

III. Those who have engaged in the service of Christ, must be resolute and persevere to the end. Application:

1. How lamentable is the con. duct of mankind in general; so widely different from the maxims of our Lord and Master.

2. What great need have we to watch over ourselves, lest domestic affairs hinder us in religion.

3. Let us be solicitous to persevere to the end.

(J. Orion.)


1. All are interested in reaping the advantages of it.

2. All must alike feel the sad consequences of neglecting it.

3. It is a work that requires immediate attention.

II. WHEN WE TAKE UP RELIGION WE MUST GO ON WITH IT, and never allow ourselves to be diverted from our object by any worldly considerations. We must be determined to serve Christ faithfully, to serve Him above all, and to serve Him for ever. No reservation; no division of affection or interest between Christ and other things.


(W. Curling, M. A.)

The professed Christian, to demonstrate his sincerity, to do his work effectually, and to prove his adaptedness for a higher sphere, must keep his face Zionward. Because, if he looks back, he shows —

1. That he is not deeply interested and fully occupied by the employment in which he is professedly engaged.

2. That the ties of his earthly relationships are stronger than those which bind him to heavenly things.

3. That he has surrendered himself to temptation. Conclusion: As the first look to Christ and the first step towards the Cross are encouraging and hopeful, so the first look away from the Saviour and the first step aside from the path of duty are discouraging, dangerous, appalling. Apostasy is thus reached by an accelerating motion.


Life is here figured as a field which God has set us to plough.

I. Upon it THREE CLASSES OF MEN appear.

1. There are those who move without regard to their orders or their duty. Their purpose is to live as easily and pleasantly as possible. They mean to enjoy the present; to enjoy virtuously, if that may be, but to enjoy. What questions may be asked them by and by, they refuse to consider. Of such the text says nothing.

2. There are others trying to plough with their eyes behind them. They have seized the plough in order to be drawn by it to heaven. But they have found life no summer sea over which they can be carried smoothly gliding. They have found it an unbroken prairie that must be ploughed as it is passed. They are continually tripped and thrown by unexpected obstacles. They do not find the joy they crave. When demands upon their energies increase, they are disturbed. When tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, "by and by they are offended." Thus they learn by sad experience that religion which is not wings is always chains.

3. But there are men who begin and continue the Christian life as the instructed ploughman runs his furrow.

II. Let us mark THREE POINTS IN THE MASTER'S ILLUSTRATION which give reply to certain questions often asked of Christians by the world, by their own hearts, by the Holy Spirit.

1. Why does God's kingdom come so slowly? Why is the Church not stronger? One could scarcely glance upon the ploughman at his work, remembering Christ's words the while, and ask these questions twice. The marvel would rather seem to be that the kingdom does increase. Survey the field of Christian ploughmen. Some are absorbed in watching and in criticising other people's furrows. Some are gazing back upon their own, recalling past experiences, at times anxiously, which is bad; at times proudly, which is worse. How few are eagerly alert to the work they themselves are set to do I How few are even sure that they have furrows to plough!

2. The Lord's words bring an answer to another question of serious practical import. It is said the Church is losing, if she has not already lost, her hold upon young men. Yet in our Lord's lifetime it was the young and the strong whom He attracted to Him and gathered round Him. Why is it not so now? Is not an answer found in this, that we no longer preach Him with the old heroic ring? All are not mourners. All are not heavy-laden. There are many who carry life as a hunter bears his gun through an unflushed preserve. Has Christ no words for them? Ay, verily! But how rarely are those words repeated? In the New Testament the Christian is painted, not as one flying from a doomed city, but as a stalwart farmer ploughing the old growths of the old world, until visions of a new earth no less than of a new heaven fill his horizon.

3. One other question presses upon many who read the text. "Let me first go bid them farewell which are at home, at my house." Was the Master's reply intended to rebuke the disciple for loving his family — to teach him not to care for wife and child? Altogether the reverse, I think. The man assumed that to follow Christ was to forsake his family. It was the fatal blunder made by most Christians some centuries later, when they conceived that to run away from their duties, and try to save their souls by hiding in caverns or monasteries, without a thought of the world their Master came to deliver, was the proper way to obey Him. To grant the man's request would have confirmed him in his error. It was needful to teach him that he could effectually care for wife and child only by following with unswerving gaze and unfaltering foot the Lord who gave them to him. No man ever obeyed Christ in singleness of heart without discovering that fact. This disciple, if he obeyed, learned it in due time, and learned it effectually, though when or how he learned it we are not told.

(W. B. Wright.)

The Saviour's reply to this man embodies a great principle which regulates the Christian life. As though He said, The meanest occupation in life demands of men fixedness of attention and devotedness of purpose. The ploughman, the oarsman, the helmsman, the engineman, must each have the fixed eye, and so must the Christian man, Without perseverance there is no success in worldly undertakings, and without this not the most resplendent grace can bring a man to heaven. Some turn back at the very commencement of the pilgrimage. The figure of the plough points out the fact to us that labour for Christ is the law of the kingdom.

(W. G, Lewis.)

While the Holy Spirit pleads with us, when conscience wakes and talks with us, let none of us trifle with the impressions that are made. There is no process so perilous as that by which men come into familiarity with Gospel truth, and go away partially enlightened and imperfectly convinced. How many there are who, like the three men we have been considering, come near to Christ, but are only almost saved. The northern steel is hardened by alternate exposure to heat and cold, and thus often are men's hearts indurated. They come into the warm atmosphere of the public means of grace, and go out into the world to become less and less approachable by Divine truth. There are not a few who have outlived all power of susceptibility to God's Word. They could not shed a tear over sin if they would.

(W. G, Lewis.)

To put the hand to the plough, is to enter ostensibly upon some undertaking, to embark in some pursuit with an apparent purpose of securing its object; and to look back, implies that divided state of mind, and that irresoluteness of purpose which are a virtual abandonment of the end proposed, and are, therefore, fatal to success. We are thus taught that a wavering and undetermined state of mind in religion is as fatal as it is in any other pursuit, that it can never form that character which qualifies for the kingdom of God.

I. Among those who, in the language of the text, put the hand to the plough and look back may be mentioned the following classes.

1. Those who would become religious were it not that they wish first to secure some worldly good.

2. The same thing is true of those who are prevented from coming to a decided purpose in religion by certain embarrassments and difficulties.

3. The same thing is true of those who, in times of deep affliction, sudden danger, or alarming sickness, have formed resolutions to become religious, and who abandon them on a change of circumstances.

4. The same charge lies against those who have been the subjects of special religious awakening, and who afterward return to stupidity in sin.

II. Its utter insufficiency to form the Christian character.

1. An undecided purpose in religion is sure, sooner or later, to abandon its object.

2. An undecided, fluctuating purpose in religion greatly impairs the energies of the mind, and thus defeats its object.

3. That an undecided purpose in religion cannot form the Christian character, is evident from the fact that it still leaves the soul as completely under the dominion of sin as if it had no existence.

4. An undecided purpose in religion grieves the Holy Ghost and fearfully exposes to judicial abandonment of God.

(N. W. Taylor, D. D.)

It seems a very easy process to a man who has never tried, as he stands looking over the fence and sees the plough glide smoothly through the field. One would think all you have to do, would be to take hold of the handles and put the point of the coulter in the sod, and then tell the horses to start; but to send the plough through at equal depth of earth, and, without being stopped by stone or stump, make a clear, straight furrow from one end to the other, requires a good deal of care. Many a one has lost his patience in the process, and when he first began to plough, has been knocked flat by the plough handles. Here is a boy that attempts to plough, but instead of keeping his eye on the beam of the plough or on the horses that are dragging the plough, he is looking this way and that, sometimes looking back to the end of the field from which he started. The husbandman comes down in the field and says: "My boy, you will never make a ploughman in that way. You must keep your eye on your work, or I shall discharge you, and put some one else in your place. See here, what a crooked furrow you have been making." Now it is this illustration that Christ presents in order to show up the folly of that man who, once having started toward heaven, is averted this way and that, often looking back to the place from which he started.

(Dr. Talmage.)

If you can dismiss from your minds the figure of the modern farmer, with his polished ploughshare leaving the deep, clean furrow in its wake, and put in its place the figure out of which Jesus made this little picture — the Eastern ploughman doubled over the pointed stick which serves as a plough — you will see at once how vividly the absurdity of a man's ploughing and looking behind him at the same time would have impressed Christ's hearers. Even a modern ploughman, with the best modern plough, will make sad work if he do not keep his eyes straight before him. Anyway, that is true of ploughing which is true of any other kind of work. One whose interest is half in front and half behind him will be only a half-way man in anything to which he may set his hand. All good work requires concentration. No good work is done into which a man does not throw himself wholly. A man cannot plough, and be looking behind him half the time. Such a man is not fit for a ploughman. You say, Of course not. That is a law of all good work, that a man cannot do it well with half his attention; but why not, then, a law of work and life in the kingdom of God? We have a great deal yet to learn about the words of Christ; and one of the most important things is, that these apparently commonplace truths and familiar laws which He so often cites are merely sides, or ends if you please, of truths and laws which hold in the whole spiritual world. It is not, that, in this little picture of an incompetent farm-hand Christ gives us something like a law of the kingdom of God. He states the law itself. Good work requires the entire committal of the worker. It is the law of Christian service and of ploughing alike. It is this fact which lifts utterances like our text out of the region of commonplace. They seem commonplace where they touch us, but their line runs out to truths which are not commonplace. The law of the plough followed up appears as the law of the kingdom of God.

(M. R. Vincent, D. D.)

1. I remark, that many surrender their religious impressions because, like this man in the text, they do not want to give up their friends and connections. The probability is that the majority of your friends are not true Christians.

2. Again, I remark, that sometimes people surrender their religious impressions because they want to take one more look at sin. They resolved that they would give up sinful indulgences, but they have been hankering for them ever since, thirsty for them, and finally they conclude to go into them. So there is a man who, under the influence of the Spirit, resolved he would become a Christian, and as a preliminary step he ceases profanity. That was the temptation and the sin of his life. After awhile be says: "I don't know as it's worth while for me to be curbing my temper at all times — to be so particular about my speech. Some of the most distinguished men in the world have been profane. Benjamin Wade swears, Stephen A. Douglass used to swear, General Jackson swore at the battle of New Orleans, and if men like that swear, I can; and I am not responsible anyhow for what I do when I get provoked." And so the man who, resolving on heaven, quits his profanity, goes back to it. In other words, as the Bible describes it, "the dog returns to its vomit again, and the sow that is washed to her wallowing in the mire." Oh, my friends, there are ten thousand witcheries which, after a man has started for heaven, compel him to look back.

3. I remark, again, there are many who surrender their religious impressions because they want ease from spiritual anxiety. They have been talking about their immortal soul, they have been wondering about the day of judgment, they have been troubling themselves abort a great many questions in regard to religion, and they do not find peace immediately, and they Say, "Here, I'll give it all up. I will not be bothered any more"; and so they get rest; but it is the rest of the drowning man who, after half an hour battling with the waves, says, "There's no use; I can't swim ashore; I'll drown"; and he goes down. Oh, we do not hide the fact that to become a Christian demands the gathering up of all the energies of the soul.

(Dr. Talmage.)

When Garibaldi sailed from Genoa in 1860, to deliver Sicily from its oppressors, he took with him a thousand volunteers. They landed at Marsala almost in the face of the Neapolitan fleet. When the commander of Marsala, returning to the port, saw two steamers, he gave immediate orders to destroy them. Garibaldi, having landed his men, looked with indifference, almost with pleasure, upon their destruction. "Our retreat is cut off," he said exultingly to his soldiers; "we have no hope but in going forward; it is to death or victory." Which it proved to be we know full well, the brave hero soon returning as complete conqueror.

Among the prisoners taken captive at Waterloo there was a Highland piper. Napoleon, struck with his mountain dress and sinewy limbs, asked him to play on his instrument, which is said to sound so delightfully in the mountains and glens in Scotland. "Play a pibroch," said Napoleon; and the Highlander played. "Play a march"; it was done. "Play a retreat." "Na, na," said the Highlander, "I never learned to play a retreat."

In the East, when men or women leave their house, they never look back, as "it would be very unfortunate." Should a husband have left anything which his wife knows he will require, she will not call on him to turn or look back; but will either take the article herself or send it by another. Should a man have to look back on some great emergency, he will not then proceed on the business he was about to transact. When a person goes along the road (especially in the evening) he will take care not to look back, "because the evil spirits will assuredly seize him." When they go on a journey, they will not look behind, though the palan-keen, or bandy, should be close upon them; they step a little on one side, and then look at you. Should a person have to leave the house of a friend after sunset, he will be advised in going home not to look back: "as much as possible keep your eyes closed; fear not." Has a person made an offering to the evil spirits? he must take particular care when he leaves the place not to look back. A female known to me is believed to have got her crooked neck by looking back. Such observations as the following may be heard in private conversation: — "Have you heard that the Camaran is very ill?" "No; what is the matter with him?" "Matter I why, he has looked back, and the evil spirit has caught him."

A noble resolution frustrated by a "but"! A life full of promise and of hope broken off by a "but"! A crown lost, a kingdom forfeited, an eternity marred by a "but"! A "but" was this man's ruin, and it may be also yours. I take it in this way, that each one present who is not following Christ may write in his or her own objection.

1. It is possible that with some of you the worldly life seems preferable on the score of pleasure.

2. Or you perhaps say: "At present I am so absorbed in business that I have no time to follow Christ."

3. Or perhaps that which has kept you back is fear of the reproach or the scorn of others.

4. Or you have formed an intention to follow Christ, but not now. "Let me first go," dec. Any excuse that will save you from immediate decision! What, think you, is peopling the regions of the lost? Is it crime? No. It is simple neglect of the gospel. Satan asks no more than that you should neglect it. He seeks not that you shall blaspheme it, or that you shall disbelieve it, or that you shall neglect and despise it. He only asks that you will neglect it. If you will only say, "Lord, I will follow Thee, but " that is all he wants.

(H. Wonnacott.)

— I will follow Thee, but —

1. Not yet.

2. I will let no one know it (Mark 8:38).

3. I will see how others go (Psalm 42:4).

4. There are so many ways (John 14:6).

5. I have not sufficient conviction (Acts 24:25).

6. I must make myself better (Matthew 9:13).

7. I do not know how (Acts 16:31).

8. It will affect my worldly position (Matthew 16:26).

9. I shall lose my situation (Matthew 6:24).

10. The doctrine of election stands in my way (Hebrews 7:25).

11. I am not certain that Thou wilt forgive and receive me (Jeremiah 31:34).

12. I cannot do certain things which a profession of religion requires of me (Mark 10:21, 22).

13. I will wait God's time (2 Corinthians 6:2).

14. I have not the heart to do it (Psalm 34:18).Application:

1. The propensity of an awakened sinner is to put off conviction day after day.

2. The excuses and promises of the sinner are to ease his conscience.

3. Excuses are enough to prevent submission.

4. Are you ready to cast yourselves into the arms of Jesus Christ?

(E. Schnadhorst.)

I. MANY ARE CONTINUALLY SAYING, "LORD, I WILL FOLLOW THEE," WHO YET DO NOT FOLLOW CHRIST. They have a reverence for sacred things; their head-belief is scriptural and unhesitating; they know both that their lives are wrong and their hearts sinful, and the remedy for the evil; but there is always something in the way of their present decision.


1. With some, as with the man of the text, natural ties. "Let me first go and bid them farewell which are at home at my house." "A very natural wish!" you say. And so in some circumstances it would be. When Elijah summoned Elisha to follow him, the son of Shaphat said: "Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee." And the prophet, stern man though he was, assented (1 Kings 19:19, 20). Why then does Christ act so differently on a similar occasion? We may conjecture that Elisha's parents would be rather gratified than otherwise that their son should become the servant of the great prophet. The parents of this man who came to Christ, on the other hand, would not, it may be, feel that it was any advance or promotion for their son to give up his occupation and follow the fortunes of the poor carpenter's son. Christ may then have apprehended that if the man returned home he would never come back, deterred from doing so by the persuasions of his relatives. Elisha was called from the plough to follow the prophets; this man was called from his occupation to put his hand to the plough. "Oh, but it was the gospel-plough," you say. Yes, but gospel-ploughing was not popular in those days. But whatever it was that rendered this man's temporary return home a probably permanent one, whatever it was that made it perilous to his spiritual interests to go and bid farewell to his parents, I gather from Christ's rebuke that it was something which the man knew. and knowing, did not consider as he ought. We may be sure that for him to do as he proposed would have been actually to prefer his relatives to Christ, the lesser duty to the larger, his affection to Christ's claim. Do natural ties ever keep us from following Christ? I am afraid that, in some cases, they do. Unbelieving wife or husband; worldly parent, scoffing brother or sister.

2. Plea of being too young yet.

3. Worldly preoccupations. Must " get on" in business, provide for family and old age. As if it was not possible to be both diligent in business and fervent in spirit. No man has a right to barter his soul for worldly gain.

III. "CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE." Let there be no hindering "but." Christ suffered no " but" to come between Him and the fulfilment of His loving purposes for our redemption. Shall we hesitate to follow Him when He bids us?

(J. R. Bailey.)

A man's work is what his will is. If he throws his will into his work, it will be done. If his heart and will are not in his work, it will be but half done. "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."

I. WHAT IS PERSEVERANCE? It is holding out steadily to the end. The question is of two kinds:

1. Active perseverance. The availing ourselves of the lights of truth when we see them.

2. Passive perseverance. When there is perseverance on our part there is also perseverance on God's part. Perseverance on God's part a sovereign gift which we cannot merit.

3. This gift of perseverance consists of three things:

(a)The special guidance of God to guard us from running into temptation;

(b)God will guard those whom He guides;

(c)the continual renewal of God's grace.

II. How IS PERSEVERANCE LOST? One mortal sin will destroy it. There are sins which are not considered deadly which are in reality more deadly because they contain more subtle poison, e.g., pride, jealousy, anger, sloth.

III. HOW IS PERSEVERANCE TO BE SUSTAINED? By fidelity to the voice of conscience; by maintaining a delicacy of conscience.

1. Dwell much upon God's love to you.

2. Meditate upon those who have fallen.

3. Learn that there must be a strong, fervent will throwing itself into perseverance.

(Cardinal Manning.)

The picture of a slouching plough. man is the form into which our Lord throws the lesson of the closing section of this chapter.

1. The first man, an enthusiastic volunteer, had conceived of no difficulty in the case. Nevertheless, our Lord will not let a man enter His service without a full knowledge of its conditions. The man shall never have it to say that he was entrapped into sacrifices and labours upon which he did not count.

2. The next man is a ready man, like the first, but a more cautious man. No one would be more ready than Christ to acknowledge such a claim as he urged. But this case was peculiar. When a community, in the old colonial days, was suddenly attacked by the Indians, every man must drop everything else, and go out to repel the savages. He must leave his team unyoked in the field, his plough in the furrow, his sick wife in the house, his dead child or father unburied, and seize his gun, and take his place in the ranks. You are to remember further that this was the man's only chance to attach himself to Jesus. The Lord was going forth from Galilee to return no more. According to the Jewish law, the pollution from the presence of a dead body lasted seven days. By that time the man's first enthusiasm would have become chilled, and Jesus would be out of reach. The man evidently thought that it was only a question of a little delay in following Christ; Jesus knew that it was a question of following Him now or never.

3. Then comes a third. He offers himself also; but he, too, is not ready to go at once. He wants to go home and take leave of his family and friends. And in this case, as in the last, Christ assumes that there is a moral crisis. He must decide promptly; and if he decides to follow Christ, he must promptly forsake all, once for all, and follow Him. Christ says to Him, in effect,If you go after me, the course is straightforward. If part of your heart is left behind with friends and home and old associations, it is of no use for you to go. You are not fit for the kingdom of God, any more than a man is fit to plough a field who is constantly turning from his plough and his team to look backward.

1. The lesson of the text is that of committal — the truth, that to follow Christ is to commit one's self wholly and irrevocably to Christ. This law of entire committal is familiar enough to us in its worldly applications. When you choose a calling in life, it is said of you, "He is going to devote his life to business, or to law, or to medicine."

2. As a consequence, when you enter your plough in this spirit of entire committal, you agree to take whatever comes in the line of your ploughing, and to plough through it, or round it, and in no case to turn back because of it. The kingdom of God is full of surprises, and you will come upon a good many unexpected things, and hard as they are unexpected. There are curved as well as straight lines in God's plans, ends reached by indirection as well as directly. A farmer likes to cut straight furrows, but God is more concerned about our making a fruitful field than a handsome one. Any way, straight or crooked, you commit yourself to what comes. God selects the field for us with its conditions; rocks in one man's field, stumps in another's. Last week there came into my study a pastor of many years' standing — a faithful, able, useful servant of God. He told me of sickness and prostration, of burdens lifted in struggling churches, of divisions and dissensions among his people, of final success; and he brought down his hand with emphasis as he said, "I have learned this one thing through it all, that God's work is bound to go on any way; and that the only thing for us to do is to stand in our place and do our work whatever comes." My brethren, you all know something about this in your own lives. You have all felt the jar when the plough struck a stone. Not one of you has been able to make straight furrows always. But there is no such thing as failure of faithful work in God's kingdom. And the simple reason of that is because it is in God's kingdom, and not man's.

3. The text presents us with a question of the present, a present responsibility. It is not a question whether you will be fit for heaven by and by, but whether, by absolute and entire committal to Christ, you are fit for the service of the kingdom here and now.

(M. R. Vincent, D. D.)Christ required implicit consecration, with no mental reservation, no hankering after the old manner of life.

(J. P. Thompson.)

Biblical Treasury.
Father Taylor, the sailor preacher, was brought up in a place near the city of Richmond (United States) by a lady to whom he had been given in charge. One day, when he was about seven years old, he was picking up chips for his foster-mother, when a sea captain passed by and asked him if he did not wish to be a sailor. He jumped at the offer, never finished picking up his chips nor returned into the house to bid his friends good-bye, but gave himself to the stranger without fear or thought. As a sailor he underwent many hardships, being at one time a prisoner of war in England; and he finally became, and was for over forty years, pastor of the Seamen's Bethel, Boston, and an eminent and useful preacher.

(Biblical Treasury.)

Nero once tried to disgrace some of the great Roman nobles to as low a level as his own by making them appear as actors in the arena or on the stage. To the Roman noble such an appearance was regarded as the extremest shame and disgrace. Yet to disobey the order was death. The noble Florus was bidden thus to appear in the arena; and doubtful whether to obey or not, consulted the virtuous and religious Agrippinus. "Go, by all means," replied Agrippinus. "Well, but," replied Florus, "you yourself faced death rather than obey." "Yes," answered Agrippinus; "because I did not deliberate about it." The categorical, imperative "you must," the negative prohibition of duty, must be implicitly, unquestioningly, and deliberately obeyed. To deliberate about it is to be a secret traitor, and the line which separates the secret traitor from the open rebel is thin as the spider's web.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

About the time of the reformation a certain bishop who had embraced the new doctrines, and to whom it was therefore of no use, presented a relic (a dead man's toe) to the Church at St. Nicholas, Switzerland. He made the present conditionally with the power of resuming it if he should return to his old ways.

(Sir John Forbes.)

The son of Carey, the Indian missionary, went to Burmah-as a missionary, but there he became an ambassador for the Burmese king. He then lived in great worldly pomp and state, but his father mourned that he had so demeaned himself as to stoop from being God's ambassador to be the ambassador of an Eastern king. All worldly things are only like the shadows of a dream; there is nothing substantial about them. But the honour and blessings which come from God are satisfying and abiding.

(H. R. Burton.).

Elias, Elijah, Herod, James, Jesus, John, Peter
Bethsaida, Galilee, Jerusalem, Road to Jerusalem
Adieu, Allow, Bid, Family, Farewell, Follow, Friends, Good-by, Good-bye, Good-day, Home, Leave, Master, Permit, Sir, Suffer, Yet
1. Jesus sends his apostles to work miracles, and to preach.
7. Herod desires to see Jesus.
10. The apostles return.
12. Jesus feeds five thousand;
18. inquires what opinion the world had of him; foretells his passion;
23. proposes to all the pattern of his patience.
28. The transfiguration.
37. He heals the lunatic;
43. again forewarns his disciples of his passion;
46. commends humility;
51. bids them to show mildness toward all, without desire of revenge.
57. Many would follow him, but upon conditions.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Luke 9:61

     8209   commitment, to Christ

Luke 9:57-62

     2377   kingdom of God, entry into
     8116   discipleship, cost

Luke 9:59-62

     5682   family, significance
     8707   apostasy, personal

Self-Denial Versus Self-Assertion.
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.--LUKE ix. 23. We might naturally have thought that if there was one thing in the life of the LORD JESUS CHRIST which belonged to Him alone, it was His cross-bearing. To guard against so natural a mistake, the HOLY GHOST has taken care in gospel and in epistle to draw our special attention to the oneness of the believer with CHRIST in cross-bearing; and also to prevent misunderstanding as to the character
J. Hudson Taylor—A Ribband of Blue

January 30 Morning
Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.--HEB. 12:1,2. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.--Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.--Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

September 1 Evening
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.--LUKE 9:23. By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report.--All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.--The offence of the cross. If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye: but let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

September 15 Evening
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.--JAS. 1:8. No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.--Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.--What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

October 26 Evening
Take heed to your spirit.--MAL. 2:15. Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us. Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he . . . rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun . . . answered and said, My
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 11. "Whosoever Will Save his Life Shall Lose It" (Luke ix. 24).
"Whosoever will save his life shall lose it" (Luke ix. 24). First and foremost Christ teaches resurrection and life. The power of Christianity is life. It brings us not merely law, duty, example, with high and holy teaching and admonition. It brings us the power to follow the higher ideal and the life that spontaneously does the things commanded. But it is not only life, but resurrection life. And it begins with a real crisis, a definite transaction, a point of time as clear as the morning dawn.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

January 20. "Ye Know not what Manner of Spirit Ye are Of" (Luke ix. 55).
"Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of" (Luke ix. 55). Some one has said that the most spiritual people are the easiest to get along with. When one has a little of the Holy Ghost it is like "a little learning, a dangerous thing"; but a full baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a really disciplined, stablished and tested spiritual life, makes one simple, tender, tolerant, considerate of others, and like a little child. James and John, in their early zeal, wanted to call down fire from heaven on the
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Lord that Healeth Thee'
'He healed them that had need of healing.'--Luke ix. 11. Jesus was seeking a little quiet and rest for Himself and His followers. For that purpose He took one of the fishermen's boats to cross to the other side of the sea. But the crowd, inconsiderate and selfish, like all crowds, saw the course of the boat, and hurried, as they could easily do, on foot round the head of the lake, to be ready for Him wherever He might land. So when He touched the shore, there they all were, open-mouthed and mostly
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Prayer and Transfiguration
'And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered.'--LUKE ix. 29. This Evangelist is especially careful to record the instances of our Lord's prayers. That is in accordance with the emphasis which he places on Christ's manhood. In this narrative of the Transfiguration it is to Luke that we owe our knowledge of the connection between our Lord's prayer and the radiance of His face. It may be a question how far such transfiguration was the constant accompaniment of our Lord's devotion. It
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Christ Hastening to the Cross
'And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.'--LUKE ix. 51. There are some difficulties, with which I need not trouble you here, as to bringing the section of this Gospel to which these words are the introduction, into its proper chronological place in relation to the narratives; but, putting these on one side for the present, there seems no doubt that the Evangelist's intention here is to represent the beginning of our
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Bread from Heaven
'And the apostles, when they were returned, told Him all that they had done. And He took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city, called Bethsaida. 11. And the people, when they knew it, followed Him; and He received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. 12. And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto Him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Christ's Cross and Ours
'And it came to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him; and He asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am I 19. They answering, said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering, said, The Christ of God. 21. And He straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22. Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

'In the Holy Mount'
'And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31. Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.'--LUKE ix. 30, 31. The mysterious incident which is commonly called the Transfiguration contained three distinct portions, each having its own special significance and lesson. The first was that supernatural change in the face and garments of our Lord from which the whole incident derives its name. The second was the appearance by His
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

Following "Whithersoever"
One day as Jesus was passing along the highway, a man said to him, "I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest" (Luke 9: 57). This man no doubt was greatly impressed by the wonderful works and noble character of Christ. He thought that companionship with such a man would be full of blessing and richness. Just to see and hear would be worth any man's time and effort--to hear the gracious words that came from His lips would enrich mind and heart; to see the mighty works done would inspire. To him
Charles Wesley Naylor—Heart Talks

Gethsemane: the Strange, Lone Struggle. Matthew 26:36-46. Mark 14:32-42. Luke 22:39-46. Hebrews 5:7.
The Pathway in: messengers ahead--Jesus felt the cross drawing near--the look of His face, Luke 9:51-55.--His disciples afraid, Mark 10:32.--indignation against sin, John 11:33, 38. marginal reading American Revision.--the Greeks, John 12:20-28. The Climax of Suffering: the darkest shadow--why the struggle is strange--shock of extremes--His purpose in yielding--separation from the Father--Matthew 27:46. Mark 15:34 margin.--the superlative degree of suffering. Alone: a full evening, Matthew
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

On the Words of the Gospel, Luke ix. 57, Etc. , Where the Case of the Three Persons is Treated Of, of whom one Said, "I Will
1. Give ye ear to that which the Lord hath given me to speak on the lesson of the Gospel. For we have read, that the Lord Jesus acted differently, when one man offered himself to follow Him, and was disallowed; another did not dare this, and was aroused; a third put off, and was blamed. For the words, "Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest," [3246] what is so prompt, what so active, what so ready, and what so fitly disposed to so great a good, as this "following the Lord whithersoever
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23 1. It has been frequently imagined, that the direction here given related chiefly, if not wholly, to the Apostles; at least, to the Christians of the first ages, or those in a state of persecution. But this is a grievous mistake; For although our blessed Lord is here directing his discourse more immediately to his Apostles, and those other disciples who attended him
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Comer's Conflict with Satan
There are four points for our consideration this morning. That you may easily remember them I have made them alliterative: the devil's doings, designs, discovery, and defeat. I. First, THE DEVIL'S DOINGS. When this child came to Christ to be healed, the devil threw him down and tare him. Now this is an illustration of what Satan does with most, if not all sinners, when they come to Jesus to seek light and life through him; he throws them down and tears them. Allow me to point out how it is that the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

The Broken Column
"Lord, I will follow thee: but--." How remarkably does Scripture prove to us that the mental characteristics of mankind are the same now as in the Saviour's day! We occasionally hear stories of old skeletons being dug up which are greater in stature than men of these times. Some credit the story, some do not, for there be many who maintain that the physical conformation of man is at this day just what it always was. Certainly, however, there can be no dispute whatever among observant men as to the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 7: 1861

Heb. 4:14 Our Profession
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."--Heb. 4:14. A CAREFUL reader of the Epistle to the Hebrews can hardly fail to observe that the words "let us" are found no less than four times in the fourth chapter. In the first verse you will read, "let us fear,"--in the eleventh verse, "let us labour,"--in the fourteenth verse, "let us hold fast,"--and in the sixteenth verse, "let us come boldly to the throne
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.'--St. Luke ix. 23, 24. Christ is the way out, and the way in; the way from slavery, conscious or unconscious, into liberty; the way from the unhomeliness of things to the home we desire but do not know; the way from the stormy skirts of the Father's garments
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

The Transfiguration.
"And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James and went up into the mountain to pray."--LUKE ix. 28-36. The public life or our Lord falls into two parts; and the incident here recorded is the turning point between them. In order that He might leave behind Him when He died a sure foundation for His Church, it was necessary that His intimate companions should at all events know that He was the Christ, and that the Christ must enter into glory by suffering
Marcus Dods—How to become like Christ

Alone with God.
This life of ours will never be all that it should be unless we are much alone with God. Only those who are oft alone with him know the benefit that is derived therefrom. You can not be like God unless you are much with him, and you can not live like him unless you are like him. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus departed into the mountain to be alone with the Father and that he was often "alone praying." When Jesus had anything of great importance to say to his disciples, he always took them aside
C. E. Orr—How to Live a Holy Life

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