When the man in this verse proclaimed his intention to follow Jesus, our Lord’s response was one of severe discouragement: “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head’” (Luke 9:58). We might find it baffling that Jesus would pass up the opportunity to win a follower; we might think it cruel that he would freeze the man’s desires and send him away discouraged. But Jesus knew what lies in the human heart.

Never apologize for your Lord, not even when his words hurt and offend until there’s nothing left to hurt and offend. Jesus Christ has no tenderness toward anything that is ultimately going to ruin someone in his service. His responses aren’t capricious, or thoughtless; they are based on his knowledge of what lies inside men and women. If the Spirit of God brings a word of the Lord to your mind and it hurts you, you can be sure there’s something inside you he wants to hurt to death.

“The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Jesus’s words put a stop to the idea that I can serve him because it is pleasing to me. If I serve him, I can’t count on having the usual comforts. I must accept that there will be nothing but my Lord and myself and a forlorn hope. “Your lodestar,” Jesus is saying, “must be your relationship to me—and I have nowhere to lay my head.”

“Another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family’” (v. 61). The person who says to the Lord, “Yes, but . . .” is the one who is fiercely ready but never goes. The exacting call of Jesus has no margin for goodbyes. When the call of God comes to you, go at once and never stop going.

Wisdom from Oswald

There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ by His Redemption can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1465 R