Here are some of Jesus’ most demanding kingdom-words: 57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ?I will follow you wherever you go.? 58 Jesus replied, ?Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.?
59 He said to another man, ?Follow me.? But the man replied, ?Lord, first let me go and bury my father.? 60 Jesus said to him, ?Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.?
61 Still another said, ?I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.? 62 Jesus replied, ?No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.?.
1. These specific commands to would-be followers are particular instances of the parables of the pearl of great price and the treasure found in the field.. In other words, the kingdom is so valuable it is worth giving up everything for.
2. Jesus is the kingdom’s agent: he is the one who reveals and commands. Living like Jesus (v. 58) and following Jesus and proclaiming the kingdom are more important than other obligations in life. This is strong stuff.
3. Jesus’ followers are expected to destroy anything that impedes the task — the relationship with Jesus and doing the work of the kingdom.
The kingdom here, as it always is, derives from OT Davidic dynasty expectations. But, it is also here a claim on a person’s life and a claim proclaimed to others. That claim penetrates so deeply one can have no other claim and remain faithful to the claim.