Luke 9:57

ESV As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
NIV As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
NASB As they were going on the road, someone said to Him, 'I will follow You wherever You go.'
CSB As they were traveling on the road someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
NLT As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
KJV 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.

What does Luke 9:57 mean?

The four Gospels give the story of Jesus' life and ministry to reveal His identity and His message to the writers' audiences—including us. In doing so, each writer had specific ideas they especially wanted to get across, illustrated by vignettes. All four start with Jesus' life before His ministry began—Matthew and Luke with His birth, Mark at His baptism, John in eternity past and then at Jesus' baptism. And they all end with His crucifixion and resurrection. In between those two bookends, the stories often get swapped about and it can be extremely difficult to place the different vignettes in their proper chronological order.

In Luke 9:51, Luke transitions from Jesus' public ministry, primarily in Galilee. He goes on to focus more on Christ's private ministry wherein He prepares the disciples for His crucifixion and their task to build the church. This section contains more teaching and fewer miracles. But that doesn't mean that Luke strictly divided the events.

Luke 9:57–62 records Jesus' reactions to three would-be disciples. Either they ask to follow Him or He invites them. They seem to agree, perhaps with a condition. Jesus discourages them by revealing a hardship or sacrifice they will face. We don't know what any of the three eventually decide.

This little group is the last segment in a series of four describing what it means to follow Jesus. First, it requires humility and servanthood over power and authority (Luke 9:46–48). Second, it means faith in Christ over acceptance by other followers (Luke 9:49–50). Third, following Christ requires belief in what He says instead of treasured tradition and cultural identity (Luke 9:51–56). Fourth, being a Jesus-follower demands whole-heartedness and the willingness to sacrifice (Luke 9:57–62).

This last segment written here is not chronological. This is Luke's masterful weaving of stories to show his greater theme. Matthew explains that at least the first two interactions happened right before Jesus told the disciples to sail across the Sea of Galilee where they fought a storm while Jesus slept (Matthew 8:18–27). Placing the story here may be difficult for westerners who like things orderly and chronological. Jesus is more concerned that we fully understand what it takes to follow Him.

Combining what we read in Matthew and Luke reveals a deeper message in this first encounter, however. Matthew says this man is a scribe—a teacher of the Mosaic law (Matthew 8:19). If Matthew's placement is chronological, the scribe sees Jesus' great success as a teacher in Galilee, not the rejection He will face from Samaritans and Jewish leadership. A scribe would learn about the Law and then teach and enforce it. Jesus wants more from a follower. He wants humility, servanthood, faith, and submission. Yet He also wants someone willing to follow Him to the cross (Luke 9:23–26). A person easily discouraged by the idea of financial or social hardship isn't likely a sincere follower.
What is the Gospel?
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