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Matthew
  
4. The Principles of Following Jesus
(Matthew 8:18-22)
18And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side.19Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever you go.”20And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke9:57-60;2Corinthians8:9)


Christ is the stream of the power of reconciliation that gives the riches of His love to every believer, changes hearts and enlightens minds. In spite of His cures, He remained contented, but without home and shelter, for He denied for Himself earthly possessions and did not crave the pleasures of the world. He cured the sick freely and did not ask for any compensation for His services.
Christ remained content by will. This frees His followers from the false hope that they would receive jobs, money, or wealth if they join Him. If the Christian church becomes rich in properties and money, it will not be the true church, for God’s love urges us to spend what we have and not seek to wealth. If you follow Jesus, do not expect riches nor payment, nor office, but the dwelling of God’s power in your weakness, the comfort of His Spirit in your heart and the flowing of His love for the despised through you. This is the Christian privilege.
We see here Christ’s answering two different tempers, one quick and eager, the other dull and heavy. His instructions are adapted to each of them and designed for our use.
The first one was too hasty with his promise. He was a scribe, a scholar and a learned man, one of those that studied and expounded the law. The scribe expressed overwhelmed his preparedness to follow Christ saying, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever you go.” No man could have spoken better. His preparedness to dedicate himself to Christ was clear and honest. He was not called to it by Christ, nor urged by any of the disciples, but, of his own accord, he wanted to be a close follower of Christ. He was a resolute volunteer. He did not say, “I think I should follow You,” but, “I am determined, I will do it, I will actually follow You.” His statement was unlimited and without reserve. “I will follow you wherever you go,” not only to “the other side” of the country, but even to the utmost regions of the world. Now we may think that such a man could be a good disciple, and yet it appears, by Christ’s answer, that his resolution was rash, his ends low and carnal. The scribe had seen the miracles Christ had accomplished and hoped He would set up a temporal kingdom, and he wished to apply in good time for a share in it.
Christ tested his forwardness to see, whether it was sincere or not. He let him know that this “Son of Man,” whom he is so eager to follow has nowhere to lay his head. Now from this account of Christ’s poverty, we observe that it is strange in itself that the Son of God, when he came into the world, should put himself into such a low condition, as to want the convenience of a certain resting-place, which the meanest of the creatures have. If He would take our nature upon Him one would think, He should have taken it in its best estate and circumstances; but He takes it in its worst!
The inferior creatures are well provided for. The foxes have holes to shelter them, though they are not useful to man. God provides; their holes are their castles. The birds, though they seem not to take care for themselves, are taken care of and have nests.
When Our Lord Jesus Christ was here in the world, He submitted to the disgraces and distresses of poverty, “for our sakes He became poor.” He had not a settlement, had not a place of rest, not a house of His own and not a pillow of His own to lay His head on. He and His disciples lived upon the charity given to them. Christ submitted to this, not only that He might in all respects humble Himself and fulfill the scriptures, which spoke of Him as poor, but that He might show us the vanity of worldly wealth and teach us to look upon it with a holy contempt, that He might purchase better things for us, and so make us spiritually rich.
It is strange that such a declaration should be made on this occasion. When a scribe offered to follow Christ, one would think Christ would have encouraged him and said, “Come on, you are most welcome! I will take care of you.” One scribe might be capable of doing Him more service than twelve fishermen. But Christ saw his heart and answered to his thoughts and therein teaches us how to come to Christ.
Christ would have us, when we take upon us a profession of religion, to sit down and count the cost, to do it with consideration. To choose the way of godliness, not because we know no other, but because we know no better. It is no advantage to religion, to take men by surprise before they are aware. They that take up a profession hastily will hastily throw it off again when it annoys them. Let them, therefore, take time, and they should do it in the beginning. Let him that will follow Christ know the worst of it and expect to lie hard and fare hard.
Jesus brought out the difference between Himself and the scientists and religious scholars, saying He was poorer than animals and more homeless than birds. The earth is not His home. He is a stranger in it, driven away by men and crucified by His people, and whoever follows Him would become a stranger and poor like Him.
Are you determined to follow Jesus in spite of such painful difficulties and hardship?

Prayer
O Heavenly Father, our home is with You. Sin and money rule this world. We are strangers here. Please help us not to seek riches, honor, or security for ourselves. Free us from all our worldly illusions that we may be changed into servants and that the knowledge of salvation may flow from us to those who search for it.
Question
To what extent remained Jesus poor and content?
PART 1
THE PRELIMINARY PERIOD IN THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
(MATTHEW 1:1 – 4:25)
PART 2
CHRIST TEACHES AND MINISTERS IN GALILEE
(MATTHEW 5:1 – 11:1)
PART 3
THE UNBELIEVING JEWS AND THEIR ENMITY TO JESUS
(MATTHEW 11:2-18:35)
PART 4
JESUS’ MINISTRY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY DURING HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 19:1 – 20:34)
PART 5
JESUS’ LAST MINISTRIES IN JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 21:1 – 25:46)
PART 6
CHRIST’S SUFFEINGS AND DEATH
(MATTHEW 26:1-27:66)
PART 7
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
(MATTHEW 28:1-20)