By Elizabeth Prata
Jesus at His zenith of popularity… Big crowds, laudatory accolades, and promises, promises by the naive:
“And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary says of that verse, “As ploughing requires an eye intent on the furrow to be made, and is marred the instant one turns about, so will they come short of salvation who prosecute the work of God with a distracted attention, a divided heart. … The expression “looking back” has a manifest reference to ‘Lot’s wife’.“
You can imagine what a furrow looks like when a plow has swerved. Or a mower with the operator looking backwards. It soon gets crooked.
The ‘don’t look back’ warning in Luke does bring immediately to mind the warning given to Lot and his family as they prepared to flee the imminent judgment at Sodom, that most wicked city. The angel told the family,
“Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” (Genesis 19:17b).
Those directions are pretty clear. Don’t look back. The family had been told in no uncertain terms that what was going to happen to the city. They knew it was judgment from God, and they knew they were in the presence of an angel who was delivering this message. you cannot get much higher than an authority than an angel sent by God, and you would think that a person would listen to the directions. When the judgment started, this is what happened:
“Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:24-26).
She had a divided heart.
Now, the Lord is THE highest authority. And He told the would-be follower in Luke not to look back. He had discerned that the would-be follower already had a divided heart. You can’t move forward while looking back. If you do, you mar your walk.
Jesus is the most beautiful treasure, the most glowing glory, the most perfect sight one could ever imagine. He is the most important person in the Universe, from all time and forever. The question is, why would you WANT to look back? Is there a possession Mrs Lot had that was worth more to her than her family around her? More important than an angel from God? More important than judgment behind and salvation ahead?
Of the young follower questioning Jesus, who was at his house that was more important than the Messiah?
In John 6, Jesus was talking with the disciples. A great many of them had been following Jesus for some time, including the Twelve. As Jesus was preaching about the bread and the blood, and saying that no one can come to Him unless it has been granted by the Father. It was a hard saying, hard to understand and hard to accept. The scriptures say,
“As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” (John 6:66-68)
Peter knew that there was nothing else on earth more important than the time He could spend with Messiah in person.
Do you have a divided heart? Where else would you go, once you found the key to eternal life, and the One who brings it? There is no place else to go, nothing else to have, not one thing of any iota of importance compared to Jesus. A divided heart is no heart. What was Mrs Lot looking at? What was back at Sodom that was better to mourn over than looking ahead at the angel God had sent from heaven who was leading them to safety? Who was better for the young would-be follower to be with than the most important Person of the universe??
My hope for myself and for you is to have a whole heart for Jesus.