18 When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side. 19 A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” 21 Another of [his] disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”
ESV - 20 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.
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I would say that Jesus was not actually trying to discourage people from following Him, but that, in a spirit of truthfulness, He wanted to be sure that they were aware of the full commitment, as well as the potential cost, involved in discipleship, perhaps even to the point of requiring them to give up their earthly lives. If this ended up discouraging some of those people, it would have been because those individuals were drawn to Jesus primarily by thoughts of the recognition, popularity, or other personal benefits that they believed discipleship would result in for them, with no consideration of the opposition they might face, or the hardships they might have to endure. (Jesus spoke of this in passages such as Luke 14:26-33.)
2Co8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” I’m not saying we all should take a vow of poverty, but be realistic regarding riches, brothers! Jesus wanted the would-be disciples to realize the ramifications of following Him so they’d not find out later that there were more stipulations to being one of His. As the Jewish leaders got madder and madder at Jesus, He wanted His true disciples to be ready for the worst-case scenario (John 15:18). QSB
Jesus would like people to understand spiritual dimensions, taking them closer to God. Jesus dissuaded those who were interested in material hankering.
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