Jesus Never Comes Next
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Follow Jesus First
So often is the consideration that to follow Christ is that charge that in so following we should have glory in this world, but this seems not to be the case set forward to us in the passage here.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
What a contrast this seems to be from the prophets of this world who so evidently desire the riches and comforts of this world. Jesus has nowhere to lay his head, yet could we expect the same to ever be said of the expectations of men such as Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Ken Copeland, Joyce Meyer or especially The “Bishop of Bling” Lamor Whitehead, who was recently robbed of half a million dollars of jewelry he was wearing during a service? (July 2022).
There is little doubt in my mind that should all the material wealth be taken from such people, and they were to have no resting place for their heads, they would soon turn aside quickly from the way.
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
Jesus did not respond that following him would enjoy the comforts of this life, not even necessarily the comforts of a bed that most people enjoy, no, not even of the home of foxes nor birds, following Jesus held no such promise.
Had this man given true consideration to the cost? Did he really understand where “whithersoever thou goest” would take him?
Consider the disciples of the Lord and their own promise to Christ as they desired to share in his glory.
37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:
The cup Jesus spoke of that they should drink was that same cup Jesus prayed thrice that “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mt 26:39), but their answer seemed to have been given rashly, I’m not convinced they considered the cost either. Nevertheless they did “drink of that cup” and followed Christ to a cruel death.
But as Jesus entered into his glory, they also followed him there.
Beloved, it is not the comforts of this life that should be the expectation of those who follow Christ, it is the hope, joy and glory of life everlasting that does so.
There is no hard and fast rule that states we would all suffer discomfort of life or even martyrdom, but there should also be no expectation in our minds that our lives will never endure trials.
Those who truly followed the work of the Gospel had already determined in their minds that the comfort of eternity is worth all the trials of the temporal. It was the Christian martyr of Equador, Jim Elliot, who said, “he is no fool to give up that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose”. People like him gave up the expectation of this worlds goods, like Moses, they too …
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Hebrews 11:25–26
For many centuries, the simple teaching or reading of the Bible alone would have many “drink the cup that Jesus drank”.
“One Christopher Shoemaker, in the early 1500’s, was burned alive at Newbury, in Berkshire, England, was accused of having gone to the house of a John Say, and “read to him, out of a book, the words which Christ spake to his discyples…”.
In 1519 seven martyrs were burned in one fire at Coventary, “for having taught their children and servants the Lords prayer and the ten commandments in English…”
A Jenkin Butler accused his own brother of reading to him a certain book of Scripture, and persuading him to hearkin unto the same.
John Barret, a goldsmith of London, was arrested for having recited to his wife and maid-servant the Epistel of St James, without a book….
Thomas Phillip and Lawrence Tayor were arrested for reading the Epistle to the Romans and the first chapter of St Luke in English”
Beloved these are just some who followed Christ out of a pure heart and during times when there was KNOWN antagonism against the gospel of Christ. Yet I wonder what level of timidity it is in us that we so quickly limit our love for Jesus, unwilling even for fear of a awkward look that we keep our tongues silent?
We have NO RISK of being killed for our faith in Australia today.
No risk of being burned alive for reading out of the bible today.
No risk of imprisonment for simply reciting from memory a verse of scripture, yet far too many of us remain quite UNWILLING TO FOLLOW CHRIST “Withersoever he goest”!
I just quoted from John Foxe in his history of persecution of those who were willing o follow Christ no matter the cost, think now of the contrast with those modern preachers of today who are unwilling to follow Christ lest they offend their pay cheques.
Their they are in their gorgeous apparel, they claim to be doing the work of the Lord while ensure they have multiple homes in which they can “lay their heads”, they are famous, well known and some even very rich. I’m sure you have a few in your minds eye.
Now consider this Baptist circuit riders correspondence in 1803, as he speaks to his itinerant preaching works two hundred years ago;
“Every day I travel, I have to swim through creeks or swamps, and I am wet from head to feet, and some days from morning to night I am dripping with water….I have rheumatism in all my joints…What I have suffered in body and mind my pen is not able to communicate to you. But this I can say; While my body is wet with water and chilled with cold my soul is filled with heavenly fire, and I can say with St Paul: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy”. 
To this preacher, Jesus Never Comes Next.
He denies his present comforts that he might follow Jesus withersoever he goeth, that he and others may claim on eternal life and happiness.
What of you? Does Jesus come first, or next?
Personal Responsibilities Next
Luke 9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
What might seem on the surface to be a harsh response needs to be considered in the light of reality.
As you read your Bible it is vital to remember that the perspective of God is NEVER focused on the temporal, but the eternal. The temporal is certainly dealt with often, but it is still always in the light of the eternal. The temporal matters ONLY in light of eternity.
The cup of water we give in the name of Christ shall not lose its reward (Mrk 9:41)
Jesus calls the man to follow him, but the disciple’s priority is to follow Jesus next, “LORD, suffer me FIRST” says he, because FIRST he has his responsibilities to take care of.
Now just in case you think your responsibilities are important, the Bible puts water all over it by demonstrating that not even the burying of a loved one should take precedence before following Christ;
But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
Those of you who say you can’t come to Church on the Lords Day because you have to work FIRST, you put Jesus next!
Those who say you have your businesses to attend to FIRST, you put Jesus NEXT.
Those who say you need to take your children to sports FIRST, place Jesus NEXT.
Those who need to bury your father FIRST, put the work of Christ NEXT.
Jesus has his answer in light of the reality that MATTERS FIRST.
Jesus never comes next.
Do you begin your day with the Lord FIRST, or do you give him the leftovers after you have attended to your responsibilities, if any?
Do you give for the work out of your FIRST fruits, or will you only give for his work if there is anything left after all your expenses and proffered comforts are met with?
TIME AND MONEY both seem to find their respective responsibilities taking precedence, and we leave our trust toward Jesus to come NEXT, if at all.
We set our alarm for just enough time to get up, eat breakie and travel to our work responsibilities, but never enough time to read our Bibles or pray.
We set our living expenses to the level of our income and have little to nothing to give for his work.
In other words, we set our responsibilities FIRST and Jesus NEXT, while he promises to bless us if we set him FIRST!
Now, each of us have our responsibilities in life and we are to attend to them with diligence, it is not to do the one and leave the other undone, both are our responsibility. This is not limited to time and money, but it extends to our faithful attitude in all things including how we live our daily lives toward others.
Turn to Luke
37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not firstwashed before dinner. 39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. 40Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? 41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. 42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Judgement and the Love of God was to come first, but in its place, they did their religious observance and think they have attended to all their responsibility.
The Lord spoke in the same way respecting giving to the needs of elderly parents;
They claim they have given to the work of the Lord in the temple, and trust that somehow the elderly parents are helped by it, but Jesus said;
And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition (Mrk 7:12-13)
these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Beloved, when you put Jesus FIRST, in ALL things, everything else follows in its proper order.
Personal Relationships Next
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Probably one of the most difficult considerations for many people is that our love for Jesus is to come first. Following him is the first priority in our relationships.
Wives are to love Jesus well above loving their husbands, Husbands are to love Jesus well above loving their wives.
Our relationship to Jesus is always to be first and never NEXT. Those placing Christ next, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Don’t look at me that way beloved, I didn’t write it!
Now before you husbands and wives get jealous of Jesus, you must first appreciate his love for you. You must first appreciate the infinite love with which he loved you to save you and loves you to KEEP you.
1 John 4:19
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Such love to us Jesus gave FIRST PRIORITY to exercise. He loved us FIRST, even before his own suffering on the cross.
The single greatest expression of love ever manifested to mankind was his death on the cross.
The most unjust and selfish act ever committed by man was putting him there.
Consider the contrast for a minute!
The rulers of the time were fearful that in keeping Jesus alive, they themselves would be displaced;
48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
How many are the people who will not love Jesus first because they fear they will lose the love or respect of friends or family or work collogues?
How many deny the Lord in their actions if not their words because they fear the relationships with others might be altered or despised?
Peter testified that “though all forsake Jesus, he never would”, and yet when doubt filled his heart, he did not put Jesus first, but last, Jesus came next.
Peter even changed his manner of speech to speak as they did so they would not think he was associated with Jesus.
Turn to Matthew 26
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
We Christians tend to speak differently to the world, our speech often betrays us.
Its interesting that Acts records their boldness of speech when they put Jesus First saying;
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
But when we put Jesus NEXT, we change our speech to match our friends and collegues.
Ever done that?
- Did your relationship with others come first and Jesus NEXT? Does it still?
- Is your faith the best kept secret at work?
- Is your life a living testimony of Christ or an evident denial of him?
Peter denied the Lord thrice, how many times have you done so?
It’s interesting that we seem to unconsciously see that our evident love for Jesus may have the natural effect of repelling some people away from us, but we fail to see that that same love may actually also draw some people toward Jesus.
Paul cites this faithfulness in us to effect life or death in those who hear it;
2 Corinthians 2:15–16
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
There is a natural effect upon our relationships when we put Jesus FIRST, it will attract some and repell others, BUT do not be fooled into thinking that what we immediately observe testifies to what is actually going on or will remain for the long term.
Some will seem to hate the gospel testified in your life, but are watching your sincerity in it and may indeed be moved by it.
Others will be draw to you and to Christ, but may soon turn aside.
This includes HUSBANDS AND WIVES.
God is NOT in the business of separating husbands from wives and wives from husbands, did you know that?
Yes, there is division that Jesus speaks of in the home, but it is quite interesting that there is NEVER a mention of husbands and wives being divided in the one household;
I do not have the time to get into it this morning, but look up both Matthew 10:34–37 and Luke 12:51–53
Consider what relationship is NOT at variance in that example!
Consider which TWO are not separated in Luke’s account when all the others are noted.
Paul tells us that our faithfulness in placing Jesus FIRST may indeed effect a change in the life of an unbelieving spouse.
1 Corinthians 7:16
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
Beloved this is the secret result of putting Jesus first in your life.
Jesus died to reconcile you to him, do you really think he can’t reconcile you to your wife or husband if you put him FIRST?
The more you love Jesus, the more you come to love everyone else. True love is NEVER DIVIDED. Any of you who have more than one child know this to be true.
True love ONLY EVER MULTIPLIES.
And when your love for Jesus reaches the most it can reach, YOU WILL EVEN LOVE YOUR ENEMIES!
Jesus Never Comes Next
Beloved, there is something incredibly intriguing that occurs when Jesus does not come FIRST in all things.
We spoke of responsibilities and we spoke of relationships, and stated that these are often placed before Jesus.
However, I did not claim that these are first when we put Jesus next. Its not our love for our responsibilities that are placed first, nor is it our love for others that is placed first; When we place Jesus NEXT it is our love for SELF that is placed first.
2 Timothy 3:1–5
Here we will see that in a time that the love of many shall wax cold, the natural effect of the loss of OUR FIRST LOVE, will be a love of self. What I want you to see is its downward spiral.
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
First in responsibility, first in relationship, When Jesus is NEXT, we serve ourselves first, we love ourselves first.
We become the supreme focus of our lives and our comfort becomes the most important priority of all. And look at how civilization turns out in a time described by Paul as “Perilous”!
- Do you think this is the reason you might not share the gospel?
- Do you think this is the reason your relationship at home is not what it should be?
- Are you doing all you can to please your wife so you can be happy? Ahh, happy wife happy life you say…but what of eternal happiness?
- Wives, are you doing likewise?
- Mothers, are you doing so with your children? Are you putting them before Christ, does Jesus come NEXT at home?
- Men, are you doing this in your work places? Does the testimony of your actions and mouth evident to your work collogues you are not really serious about Jesus? Do they see that you put him NEXT?
But imagine putting Jesus first in all things. Imagine loving God with all your heart, mind soul and strength, putting him first in both responsibility and relationship, would it not then be easier to love others without conditions?
Our love for Jesus cannot help but multiply our love for others, for our family, our brethren, our friends and our enemies….and THEY WILL CERTAINLY SEE IT, either this or the other side of eternity.
Let me tell you of a woman who eventually came to realise that Jesus Never Comes Next.
She was born in 1820, at six weeks of age she had a minor eye inflammation and a doctor paid a home visit to help the child. He placed a hot mixture of moist material such a bran, flour and herbs, called a ‘poultice’ over her eyes that is typically used to relive soreness and inflammation on the body, but he laced it on her eyes. Sadly the child was blinded for life by it.
The child’s name was Frances, Jane Crosby, and her love for Jesus had no competition in her life, she put him first above everything. She could have complained as many do today, for why she was made blind, but she did not. Rather than focus on her disability, she purposefully drew her heart toward Christ.
Everything else would come next, but not Jesus.
Her father died in the year she was born, and her twenty one year old mother became a widow. There was no support for blind children in those days; no disability pension, no welfare for the mother to help cope with bringing up such a child.
She began writing poetry at eight years of age, God having a peculiar purpose for her life. She recited much of the Bible, her failed eyesight evidently leading to an enhanced memory and acute ear. BUT Though she knew of Jesus, she did not yet “know” him.
Indeed, she would still go through school and even become a teacher, before, at the age of 31 years, she was converted to Christ. It was a dream that first inspired a question in her. In that dream a close friend of hers was dying and she heard the question, “will you meet me in heaven?”. On wakening however, she found her friend in perfect health, but the question remained.
It was during the singing of a hymn called “Alas and did my Saviour bleed” by Issac Watts, that struck her with the sudden thought of Jesus, and by the time she came to the verse “here Lord, I give myself away”, that she offered herself to God and was filled with light and joy of the spirit of God.
Fanny got married in 1858, at the age of 38 years, the joy of the event was marred a little later with the death of her first and only child in infancy, it would be her love for Jesus that would help her endure the battle with depression that she suffered afterward.
From 31 years of age, until her death a month before she turned 95 years of age, Fanny Crosby wrote over 6,000 hymns of her Lord, many we still sing today, some have led many safe into the arms of Jesus.
There have been many that never believed Jesus ought to come NEXT, those that have put him first have the most blessed of life even through trials.
They trust him, they say with Job, “though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Jb 13:15)
They endure the trials of persecution and affliction as did Jeremiah, yet they say also as he did, But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay (Jer 20:9).
They might have suffered affliction as did the apostle Paul who testified to his ordeals for the sake of Jesus, And yet with all this trial and sorrow, he also testified;
1 Corinthians 9:16
16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Beloved, though it seems a contrary idea that putting Jesus First, all things take their proper place, yet it seems to be the ONLY way true blessing comes our way.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Choose you this day, either Jesus comes next, or he comes first.
As for me and my house, I aim that Jesus Never Comes Next.
At least, not until he comes again.
 Henry C Vedder, A Short History of The Baptists (Valley Forge, Pa: Judson Press, 1907) p.322