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Summary: Jesus displayed the cost of Discipleship in His own Life and Death and followers of Him can expect nothing less than total commitment to God's Kingdom.

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“Foxholes and Followers”

Matthew 8:18-23, Luke 14: 25-33

Although we are looking at Matthew 8 today, the context is actually from Isaiah 53: “Surely our griefs, He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.”

Jesus came to die for sin. The wrath of God upon SIN is what Jesus bore. His substitutionary death was so that when WE DIE, we will not die eternally. In the meantime we are called to FOLLOW HIM, and to count the cost of following Him

After Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law and had healed many others in body and in soul and spirit. We read in Matthew 8:18: “Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him (a grammateus- we get the word grammar or grammatical- He was an expert in the Scriptures, and probably was a teacher himself, and he addresses Jesus as, “Teacher.”), "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man (a title given to Jesus which we will look at in a minute) has nowhere to lay His head."

To the Other Side: The Cost of Discipleship

It’s more than time to just find another venue. Jesus is surrounded by a crowd and He gave “orders to depart to the other side of the sea.” A learned scribe, who was an expert in the Jewish Mosaic law and probably a member of the ruling Sanhedrin, approaches Jesus. He was no doubt a man of wealth and influence, and he says to Jesus: “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”

Jesus responds with a statement that seems to be “beyond” the scribe’s statement (“beyond” is another possible translation of “the other side of the sea.” {peran in the Gr. The root word is “to pierce}. You might think that Jesus would say: “That would be great! Just start following.” But He tells the man that the “foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Jesus is actually talking about the cost of discipleship. Foxes and birds at least have a place to call “home”, but the Son of Man, Jesus, has no such luxuries. If you are going to follow Jesus, don’t expect to have everything that the world offers, as a matter of fact, don’t even anticipate an earthly home. The Scribe no doubt was very established as a Jewish Leader, but as a disciple of Jesus, EVERYTHING you have is available to God for His Kingdom use: Private property is a cost to become a follower of Jesus.

The effects of Jesus’ coming to suffer for sins will be felt by those who follow Him, too: Following Jesus will NOT be a thorn-less “bed of roses.” You will suffer. You may have to give up your home and be “on the move” to follow Jesus. How different than the so-called, “American dream” which promises a home, two cars in every garage, and “a chicken in every pot.”

Following Jesus is “beyond” the normal, but it certainly would not include great crowds of admirers, as the scribe probably hoped for. The scribe was a person who loved to be admired by the crowds, but a follower of Jesus is seldom admired by the masses; public praise is another cost of discipleship.

When Nicodemus came to Jesus in John 3, Jesus told Him that you have to be “born again” by Spirit of God. There is nothing that YOU CAN DO, by which you become a “follower of Jesus.” He has to first work in you with the gift of Faith.

Look at Matthew 8:21: “Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead." Here the disciple wants to impose a condition to Jesus.

In the Jewish custom, it was an obligation for a son to honor one’s parents by providing a proper burial, and it is not that Jesus wants you to “dishonor” one’s parents, but there is no greater allegiance, no greater responsibility, nor greater love, than to follow Jesus. Everything else is secondary compared to following Him.

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