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Luke 9:57 ¶ And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
The Cost of Discipleship
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
We read in Luke 9 where Jesus had just returned from the mount of transfiguration. He was performing many miracles and attracting large crowds. One fellow was caught up in all the excitement and exclaimed, ”Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” Jesus answered that unlike the birds and the foxes, He didn’t even have a place to lay His head. Evidently the man must have had second thoughts, for no more is mentioned of him. Jesus then turned to another and said, “Follow me.” “Well, I will Lord, but first I need to bury my father.” He answered that there were plenty of spiritual dead to bury the physically dead. It was more important for this man to be out preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Another man wanted to return home and bid farewell to his family. Jesus replied that if we put our hand to the plow and look back we are not worthy of the kingdom of God.
The answers of Jesus seems harsh at first glance, but we must remember that the kingdom was being offered to Israel with Jesus as their King and Messiah. If Israel accepted Jesus, Calvary would be avoided and the Messianic kingdom would be established. Thus there was an urgent need for preachers of the kingdom. There was no time for business as usual.
The circumstances have changed but there is still an urgent need for all of us to be preachers of the kingdom. Jesus could return at anytime and when He does, untold numbers of people will enter into eternal darkness. It’s no time for us to become complacent.
Jesus talked often of the cost of discipleship. He said that if we will be His disciples, we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily as we follow Him. His listeners knew exactly what He meant by “Take up your cross.” There were many crucifixions at that time. The condemned was force to carry his cross to the place of execution, just as Jesus would do in the near future. In other words, Jesus was saying that we have to be willing to die for Him just as He died for us.
Luke 9:23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
We can’t put family ahead of serving Jesus. We have to put father, mother, sister and brother in proper perspective and we cannot hold our life so dear that we cannot sacrifice it for Jesus.
It was always exciting to follow Jesus. Something new was happening everyday. A couple of times He even fed several thousand people with just a few loaves and fishes. We read in Luke 14 where Jesus turned to one of these crowds and laid down some conditions of discipleship.
Luke 14:25 ¶ And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
A man who intended to build a building always counted the cost first. A king who was going to war considered whether or not he could win the battle (Luke 14:28-32). Earthly possession cannot be of more value to us than following the Lord. Jesus said that if we did not forsake all we could not be His disciple.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
We mentioned earlier of carrying our cross to the death. That sounds strange to us who have so much religious liberty, but around the world, people are facing extreme persecution, imprisonment and death even now for the cause of Christ. Try preaching on a street corner in Iran, China or Afghanistan and see what happens.
The apostle Paul had forsaken a position of social status and influence to follow the Lord. He had to depend on the generosity of others for his basic needs. Although he had lost it all, he counted the knowledge of Christ as the greatest treasure of all.
Philippians p 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Like is short and very uncertain. As we have been finding out in the recent worldwide financial meltdown, our treasures can evaporate very quickly. Our life on earth is only for a very short time. There is nothing that can be counted so dear as to separate us from Jesus. Eternity with Him awaits with it’s endless blessings.
John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
We certainly don’t want to miss that, do we?
See: Christ's Lordship Demands Our Servanthood
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