…no pillow either?
As they were going along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 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.”
For the very poor of the East, in ancient times as now, the “bed” was and is, as a rule, the bare ground; and the bedclothes, the gown or “outer garment,” worn during the day. When one was on a journey, or watching his flock by night as a shepherd, such a “bed” was the most natural, and often a stone would serve as a pillow. Over time the use of a mat on the floor as a bed, with or without covering, became more common. At first it was literally laid on the main floor of the home in some convenient place near the wall; but later it was put on an elevation, either a raised part of the floor, or a bedstead, which gave rise to the expression “going up to the bed.” With later development, “beds” came to be built on supports and constructed in different forms. This fact is reflected in the variety of names given the “bed” in Hebrew and related languages. The pillow was likely formed of sheep’s fleece or goat’s skin with a stuffing of cotton.
These beds and pillows are a far cry from what we have today. We can get adjustable beds, harder or softer beds, memory-foam beds and pillows – and beds of all sizes. We likely have a favorite pillow and hopefully we like our beds.
Jesus’ reference to no bed or pillow may have seemed odd to the person pledging to follow Jesus because he knew that preachers like Jesus had no bed. It seems equally odd to us. Do we have to sleep without a pillow for Jesus?
No. Jesus isn’t telling us to grab a rock for a pillow or sleep on the ground. What He is calling for is a life of total commitment. Jesus, who lived the life of an iterant preacher, had no place to lay His head. Rather, He lived and modeled the total commitment we are to have. He was the Shepherd, on His journey for us, following the Father’s will, showing us the way we must go, the life we must lead.
To follow Jesus requires that we make a conscious and consistent effort to live the life He calls us to live. Does it involve sacrifice in the present for His promised eternal reward? Certainly!
Jesus points out that thoughts of material things or present day rewards from following Him lead us “nowhere.” Instead we have to be people following His journey into eternity, life forever. We too must be shepherds, out in the fields and roads day and night living up to Jesus’ teaching, leading others to Him.
When we get in bed and grab our pillows let us commit again and again to Him.