“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. Then a scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.'” – Matthew 8:18-19
Seems like this scene is unrelated to the previous scene. Matthew is probably just trying to keep track of all of this and put it all together to show and prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the Promised One.
A common theme in Jesus’ early ministry is seeking to control the reaction of the people. Christ has not come to start a revolution, so when the people become overly excited, He seems to pull away (John 6:15). He also tells many people to keep aspects of His ministry quiet (Matthew 8:4), to varying degrees of success.
Whether it’s a continuation of the previous scene, or something new, Matthew tells of a moment in which Jesus recognizes the crowds around Him are growing large. He apparently wants to put some space between Himself and the crush of people. He orders His disciples to get in a boat and cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Before they go, though, Jesus will talk with a couple of people who would like to continue to follow Him. In this verse it’s a scribe.
In that era, a “scribe” was an expert in handling written documents, often also a teacher of the law of Moses. These scholars were frequently given local authority to decide how the law should be followed. For better or worse, scribes are often associated with the Pharisees, a frequent target of Jesus’ teachings about hypocrisy (Matthew 5:20). It is interesting, then, that a scribe would refer to Jesus as “Teacher” and be so eager to follow Jesus as He traveled in His ministry.
Jesus, in tomorrow’s verse, does not offer an encouraging response. His remark suggests that this scribe is looking for something other than truth.
The scribe says, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Incredibly dangerous and uncertain verse. Yet, isn’t that what a walk with Jesus is?