Matthew 8:19 & 20
"Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.' Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'" NIV translation
In the previous studies, we have seen four cases of miracles that were performed by Jesus as a demonstration of His complete authority. We are reminded of the fact that, throughout the Bible, the number four is associated with worldly trials and testing. Here, we see the test of faith and we are introduced to it by a teacher of the law. A teacher of the law was/is a Jewish scholar that is trained in the teaching and application of the Jewish law to daily life.
This religious scholar made a bold declaration about his willingness to follow Jesus. Jesus warns him and us about the worldly test which is the flesh as He used the example of a home.
Unless you have ever truly been homeless and sleeping on the street, it may be hard to understand this but, mentally, knowing that you do not have a place to stay is the hardest part.
The "home" in our society and, in fact, in the world as a whole is a place of safety and like an anchor for our lives. Even the animals like the fox and the birds seek this place of refuge.
We may choose to go somewhere else for awhile but we usually return to our "home". We may move to another city but, when we do so, our first effort will be in finding a suitable "home".
So, why did Jesus bring up a place to lay the head (home) in response to this religious scholar's declaration of loyalty? Jesus knew what was in the man's heart and He must have known that the man was willing to go but was wanting to keep his place in the world (home) as well. This is unacceptable to the Lord as we see in His letter to the Church in Laodicea (see Revelation 3).
Did Jesus always sleep outside and have something against houses? No, as we have already seen, He stayed in Peter's house at Capernaum. But, to really walk in the faith and power of God, we might need to unshackle ourselves from a mortgage or the security of a home and find our refuge only in Him. After all, the things of this earth (including our homes) are only temporary.