Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to show Christians 3 results of looking back at problems, events, or things that have gone on in the past once you have put your hand to the plough in service to Christ.
(making sure you don’t look back) Luke 9:57-61
Luke 9:57-61 (NIV) 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."
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this sermon is to show Christians 3 results of looking back at problems, events, or things that have gone on in the past once you have put your hand to the plough in service to Christ.
Read Luke 9:57-61
Here in this particular passage we have the story of how when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem he is approached by three people wanting to be his follower or disciple. The first man says to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go" and Jesus’ reply most likely was a rhetorical question, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. - Do you still want to follow me?" Then Jesus turns to another man and asks him to follow him - this man requests that he be allowed to wait until his father is dead so he can bury him. Jesus answer shows the sacrifice that is required of his disciples - and the responsibility they have to witness to the world God’s grace. Then another man, eager to step in, tells Jesus he will follow him if he can first go back and say farewell to those at home. Jesus’ reply to this man is one that has a very important message to all of us here today. Jesus said "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Why is what Jesus said to this man so important? Well to understand this we need to first of all have an understanding as to how the hearers of that day would have understood that statement. More specifically, we’ll first have a look at, well, "a plough".
Show overhead of plough
Back in the time of Jesus, agriculture was the main industry of the land. The main reason being of course that the ratio of crops to people was much smaller in those days than it is in today. Or in other words - one farmer’s efforts would feed a lot less people then than one farmers efforts now.One of the most important steps in preparing land for growth of a crop is to break up the land so that the soil is ready for the seed to grow. The tool that was used to do this was the plough. Ploughs were of a simple construction were known in the time of Moses, were very light, and required great attention to keep them in the ground. One type of Syrian or Palestinian plough is made up of two wooden beams which are joined together, and at the front end it is hooked to a yoke, and at the rear end it is fastened to a crosspiece, the upper part of which serves as the handle, and the lower part holds the iron ploughshare or colter. Two oxen or other beasts of burden would be attached to the yoke and would be used to assist the farmer in ploughing the field. The farmer would direct and prod the animals with the help of a goad, which was simply a pointed stick. When the first rain of the season had come on the land the ploughman would be out to plough his field.
The ploughman holds the one handle of the plough with one of his hands, while he carries the goad in the other hand, with which to prod the animals. During the process the ploughman would have to press down with all his weight on the plough (because it is so light) in order to make the furrow deep enough.
Now that we understand a little bit about the nature of a plough and how it was used and for what it was used the next question to ask is why was Jesus using it as an example?
Before we answer that question I want to read a story from the Bible that many of you may be familiar with. It’s from Numbers 13:26-33 and 14:1-25