Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 8:20
“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 8:20
Jesus was speaking to a crowd of followers. It was not just the twelve who walked with Him, there were many who heard what He was teaching, saw the many miracles He performed, and desired to know more about Jesus, who He was and what He taught. We read in Matthew the following, “Then a scribe came and said to Him, Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Matthew 8:19. The use of the word teacher tells us that He truly did not understand who Jesus was. Also, in the rabbinic culture, the scribes were held in high esteem. They normally were well taken care of and all their needs were met. I am sure he expected Jesus to say, “Sure, come along, that would be great.” However, Jesus knew this man’s heart and that he was no doubt expecting everything to be the same, and for him to be taken care of as he was being a Rabbi. However, the focus verse states His answer, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. As we continue reading, we see no indication that he followed Jesus.
Notice that Jesus did not say to him that he was not welcome to follow Him. But what He did say was the truth of what it meant to follow Him. He did not paint a beautiful image of what it was like to be a follower. But what He did say showed that it was not as easy as he had thought. In essence He told the scribe that there were no guarantees. There was nothing that promised they would have a place to sleep that was comfortable and safe. The animals will have more assurance of a good night sleep then he would if He followed Him. As you see what happened throughout Jesus’ ministry, there were a lot of uncertainties. Food was not always available, and they were not always in places of safety.
And we need to be careful that we do not present a rosy picture of this life. Yes, God will never leave us or forsake us. Yes, He will give us joy and peace in all situations. And yes, He will always love us and take care of us. Too many times evangelists will use the technique of painting a picture to new believers and disciples that all is well, you can get what you want, and that you always will be safe. If we do, we are hiding what is going on in many countries where the governments are out to punish all those who worship Jesus. Also, we are telling them that everyone will listen to them, and not give them any trouble. Times can get tough. And Jesus did not hide this aspect of following Him. And if He did not hide this, then neither should we.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.