it would seem in the old testament law, God had a thing for allowing people to tie up loose ends.
Deuteronomy 20:5 Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, 'Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. 6 And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed it's fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. 7 And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.'
there is something of a sense of seeing things through to fruition here... the fruit of building a house is it's dedication, of planting a vineyard enjoying it's fruit, and betrothal to a wife the taking of her to himself. those were things God intended for the man to 'tie up the loose ends' himself, and not be left to another man.
and it's not just an immediate thing, either. i don't know how long the dedication of a house was, but for a vineyard it could be 5 years: the cross reference for verse 6 in the esv is to Leviticus 19:23-25:
Lev 23 When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. 24 And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the LORD your God.
whether that necessarily applies to grapes i don't know...
and from betrothal to the 'taking' of the wife is a year.
my point in pointing this out is to say that the jews would have been used to the idea of wrapping up loose ends before embarking into battle -- because God himself put those things into the law.
so when you move to the gospels, when Jesus says to people to 'follow me', and they say, 'i will, just as soon as i....' and they mention a loose end, they are doing what seems right according to what they have been taught, no? so who are we to say that they are only halfhearted in their acceptance of following Jesus? they would be attempting to do right by their God to see things through to fruition before they go on to the next thing He has for them. finish what you started, right?
so what is really the 'moral of the story' for verses such as Luke 9:59 - 62?
Luke 9:59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God. 61 Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." 62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
in my meager understanding, it seems rather than about our willingness, it's more about the paradigm shift that Jesus brought to the understanding of God's kingdom. He is doing a NEW thing. there are no loose ends to tie: they are dead things, but a vapor. He was countering what they knew of how the kingdom worked. it was as much a affront to the levitical law as His saying "drink my blood, eat my flesh". it would be offensive. only those with new ears would hear. those whose understanding of God was tied to the law would naturally find it foolishness, and would turn away. why do we tend to diss them for doing what is logical? only if He has given them ears to hear will they be able to hear.... and have their world turned upside down.
talk about a PARADIGM SHIFT. whoa.
i dunno, i just been mulling this over for about 3 days now.
THIS BLOG IS IN NEED OF AN OVERHAUL. there are posts from years back i would not be able to post in good conscience now. i plan to overhaul the blog, and either delete or add a disclaimer to those posts. but that is gonna take time....
The Radical Summons: "Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come." Hebrews 13:13.
"The Spirit never loosens where the Word binds; the Spirit never justifies where the Word condemns; the Spirit never approves where the Word disapproves; the Spirit never blesses where the Word curses." —Thomas Brooks
"God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead. He does not give saintliness to any but sinners, nor wisdom to any but fools. In short: He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace. Therefore no arrogant saint, or just or wise man can be material for God, neither can he do the work of God, but he remains confined within his own work and makes of himself a fictitious, ostensible, false, and deceitful saint, that is, a hypocrite." --Martin Luther (W.A. 1.183ff)
i will not let You go: "Jacob's sense of his total debility and utter defeat is now the secret of his power with his friendly Vanquisher. God can overthrow all the prowess of the self-reliant, but He cannot resist the earnest entreaty of the helpless." --Albert Barnes
i will not let You go: "Jacob's determination did not flow from his strength, it flowed from his weakness." --Charles Leiter