“Then a scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'” (Matthew 9:19-20)
It is remarkable that in His exchange with this scribe, Jesus did not seem to really “encourage” his discipleship at all. Rather He set forth the costs in almost discouraging fashion: after the man had said he would follow Him wherever He went, Jesus reminded him of some of the challenges they would face. What is even more noticeable is how different Jesus’ approach was from the way that many contemporary Christians almost “beg” people to make any kind of “decision” for Christ: lowering standards, saying “all you have to do is …”, etc. There is none of that kind of pandering for “easy decisions” from Jesus.
In fact, it doesn’t appear that this man even came to Jesus with a particularly “casual” attitude; after all, as he came he said, “I will follow You wherever you go.” That would seem to indicate that he grasped at least something of the importance and depth of the commitment he was making. I’m sure our response today would certainly have been: “Ok, here’s a guy who really understands; sign him up!”
But Jesus (who also sees hearts the way that we cannot, and knew what the man was really thinking) made even more sure this man understood what he was signing up for: “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” NOTE: THIS WAS NO PROSPERITY GOSPEL Jesus was proclaiming, for sure! He said you could face difficulty and deprivation if you follow Me. Jesus wanted all of His potential followers to understand that they should not expect a life of ease. Those who became His disciples were signing up for a life of hardship and service here on earth — but they could not say that Jesus did not spell this out for them from the beginning. And those of us who would speak on His behalf today must be careful, lest we cheapen a cost that Jesus said was very high.