Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
My Son. Some manuscripts have “this is my beloved Son,” and this is how it appears in the other Gospel accounts (Matt. 17:5, Mark 9:7).
But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
(a) No one, after putting his hand to the plow. Count the cost of following Christ.
Jesus is not speaking to believers but those who have not yet decided to follow him. He’s saying, “I’m an all-or-nothing proposition.” Just as you can’t be single and married at the same time, you can’t follow and not follow Jesus at the same time.
(b) Fit. Those who leap in wholeheartedly are a good fit for the kingdom. Those who are double-minded and unstable are a miserable fit. They’re at the party but not on the dance floor. They’re at the banquet but they’re not eating.
(c) Fit for the kingdom of God. We must forsake all to enter the kingdom.
Jesus doesn’t want us doing things by half. His kingdom is not something you accommodate to your life like a golf-club membership. His kingdom is like a party with the best music, food, and drink. Jesus is saying, “Don’t be a wall-flower. Get out on the dance floor with me!”
Some translations say, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” This gives the impression Jesus is looking for hard workers. However, the words for service aren’t in the Bible and his yoke is easy and light (Matt 11:29-30).
The takeaway is not “work hard for Jesus” but “are you ready for the adventure of life shared with Christ?” Jesus offers us rest and life, not work and servitude.
Further reading: “Keep plowing or die!”
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