Nowhere to lay his head

by Michael E. Brooks

“And 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” (Luke 9:58 NKJV).

A new church building was recently dedicated in Katalthala, Bangladesh. It is a small building, but it contains a room enclosed on the end of the veranda. This room is about 4 by 6 feet in interior space. It was built for the use of the young evangelist who travels two hours each week on Saturday to visit the church members, then stays overnight and preaches on Sunday.

Though it is only for one or two nights per week, this is still a tiny space to serve as home.

I remember visiting another Bangladeshi Church almost twenty years ago and going into the mud hut where the preacher lived full-time. If I stood with both arms outstretched I would touch opposing walls in either direction. This evangelist was unmarried; nevertheless his quarters were extremely modest.

Hundreds of millions in this modern world live in miserable huts, ghettos, tent shelters, or simply on a piece of cardboard under a bridge. Many are homeless, and we feel much compassion for them.

Some live in such conditions out of choice; others because of terrible mistakes they themselves made earlier in life. But some are there because of factors beyond their control. Regardless we feel pity and wish there were some way to truly improve their lot.

By his own statement, Jesus was a homeless man. He claimed to own less than the foxes and birds, with no place to call his own. This was not because he could not afford better.

He was creator of the world. It was not because he had sinned or erred, bringing terrible consequences upon himself. Jesus gave up his home for our sakes, that he might give us an eternal home with God (Philippians 2:5-8).

In Luke 9, Jesus finds three men with whom he discusses the possibility of their becoming his disciples. To the first he warns, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

This statement is understood by most Biblical students to emphasize the cost of discipleship. When one chooses to follow Jesus he or she chooses a life of sacrifice, where there are no certain comforts or security. The true disciple may become a homeless person on this earth, just as Jesus was homeless, going wherever God led him.

The Lord does not require this exact sacrifice of every one. But we may not know what we will be required to leave or lose. We cannot bargain with him. Whatever he asks of us we must be willing to give. Whether it is to live in a tiny room in order to preach the gospel, or to give our second coat to one who needs it (Matthew 5:40), the only certainty is that Jesus will make demands of us. We will pay a price to be his disciple. But the reward we will eventually receive is much greater (Luke 6:38).

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