|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:57-62 Here is one that is forward to follow Christ, but seems to have been hasty and rash, and not to have counted the cost. If we mean to follow Christ, we must lay aside the thoughts of great things in the world. Let us not try to join the profession of Christianity, with seeking after worldly advantages. Here is another that seems resolved to follow Christ, but he begs a short delay. To this man Christ first gave the call; he said to him, Follow me. Religion teaches us to be kind and good, to show piety at home, and to requite our parents; but we must not make these an excuse for neglecting our duty to God. Here is another that is willing to follow Christ, but he must have a little time to talk with his friends about it, and to set in order his household affairs, and give directions concerning them. He seemed to have worldly concerns more upon his heart than he ought to have, and he was willing to enter into a temptation leading him from his purpose of following Christ. No one can do any business in a proper manner, if he is attending to other things. Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.
Verses 61, 62. - And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. There is an implied reproach in our Lord s reply to what, on first thoughts, would seem a reasonable request. The offer in this case came from the man himself. It would appear that this would-be disciple, on thinking the matter over, considered it might be desirable to hear what his family and friends thought about his project. At all events, one thing is clear his first ardour was cooled, his first love left. The Master, in his pithy but striking comment, shows when such is the case, that there is little or no hope of any real noble work being carried out. The simile is drawn from agricultural imagery. Jesus was evidently very familiar with all the little details of rural life. We find a similar saying in Hesiod, "He who would plough straight furrows, must not look about him" ('Works and Days,' 2:60).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And another also said,.... "To him", as the Syriac and Arabic versions add, that is, to Christ; the Ethiopic version reads, "and a third said to him"; for this is the third person mentioned in this relation of Luke's; only two are spoken of by Matthew, but a third is added here:
Lord, I will follow thee; he moves it himself, to be a disciple of his, and a preacher of his Gospel, only with this condition:
but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house: as Elisha desired Elijah, that he might go and kiss his father and his mother and then he promises he would follow him, 1 Kings 19:20. The Syriac version adds, "and I will come"; and the Persic, "and give commands, and then, will I:come": and the phrase not only signifies, that he desired to take leave of his friends, but to compose and set in order his family affairs, and dispose of his worldly effects among his domestics, relations, and friends, in the best manner he could; and then he should have leisure, and be at liberty to follow Christ, and attend his service.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
61. I will follow … but—The second disciple had a "but" too—a difficulty in the way just then. Yet the different treatment of the two cases shows how different was the spirit of the two, and to that our Lord addressed Himself. The case of Elisha (1Ki 19:19-21), though apparently similar to this, will be found quite different from the "looking back" of this case, the best illustration of which is that of those Hindu converts of our day who, when once persuaded to leave their spiritual fathers in order to "bid them farewell which are at home at their house," very rarely return to them. (Also see on Mt 8:21.)
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