There are many things that can be said about Jesus, but we can’t accuse Him of false advertising. From the very beginning of His recruiting program, that marched under the banner of “Come, Follow Me”, He told His would-be disciples that suffering was to be part of their future as it would also be for Him. Criticize Jesus for whatever you want but He didn’t invite disciples and then wait a long time to reveal and define what the cost of discipleship would be for them.
In the course of todays gospel-lesson the disciples, James and John, ask Jesus if they should call down “fire from heaven” on the Samaritans who would not welcome Him. Their comments set the stage for three individuals who say they will follow Jesus but there are conditions placed upon their discipleship. This is the type of conditional discipleship that Jesus doesn’t want. The rejection by the Samaritans doesn’t seem to be what Jesus takes offence at, but it’s those believing, affirming ones who say “yes” I’ll follow you…but just not yet! Three different persons say they will follow Him, but they first must take care of their own personal matters and family situations.
There can be a shock when following Jesus is not always a turning from what is bad to what is good. Sometimes our most difficult task is to turn from an otherwise self-evident good, toward the good of discipleship. Is not family a good thing? Ought not parents to be honored especially in death? There is great shock when we realize that the way of Jesus conflicts with even those noble commitments.” Come follow me”, if you will and can make the commitment…that’s the invitation….straight out, up front, no secret about it…far from false advertising.