Summary: This sermon deals with the cost involved in following Jesus Christ.
Discipleship: How Much Does It Cost
Everybody loves a winner. This year the Cleveland Indians drew crowds as never before. People everywhere were singing their praises and wanting to be identified with them. Why were people flocking to see the team? Was there a genuine heart conversion to love the team.
Well for some, in the beginning it wasn’t the Indians they were crazy about, they just wanted to see the new Jacob’s field. For others it wasn’t the Indians they were crazy about, but their own merchandise. The more games the Indians won, the more money they made from T-Shirts and gadgets.
There were some in Indian T-Shirts and Sweat Shirts, who had no love at all for the Indians, but they wanted to jump on a winning band wagon. If the Indians lose next year, they will quickly throw away their T-Shirts and claim they never were really Indian fans. For some, the Indians have always been there team, whether they ended in fifth place or first.
Whenever there is a winner on the scene, people try to get close. In the first century, large numbers of people flocked to Jesus. They came to him for various reasons and with different expectations. Some just wanted to see him, others wanted to be healed, some wanted their lives to be changed, and some wanted to be near him because he was a winner at the moment.
But Jesus had a problem of being truthful and painfully honest with people. When they came to him, he wanted to sit down with them and discuss such painful topics as, "the cost of discipleship". It was as though, he wanted people to follow him, but did not he want them to be surprised at the kinds of demands that He would make upon their lives.
There are many different things that attract us to Jesus Christ. Some are good, some are not so good. Jesus does not call out, "Hey, everybody, Yoo Hoo, come over here. It’s me. I’ve got the secret to joy and happiness, as well as to health and wealth." No, sometimes Jesus says things when he shouldn’t have said them if he wanted people to come hear him. One thing that Jesus appeared not to know was how to keep people coming to hear him preach.
Just when he had a large crowd following him in our New Testament reading, Jesus went and said something that the people didn’t like. They told him, "this is a hard teaching, who can accept it." A few verses later, the word says, "from this time, many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed him." Jesus still had not quite gotten the message, so he made matters even worse by looking at the 12 he had left and asking them, "Do you guys also want to leave."
Now Peter could have been bold enough to say, "Jesus you need to tone down these messages you’re preaching on discipleship. Give the people time to let it soak in, or there won’t be anybody left for you to preach to and all your work will be down the tubes. But I thank God that Peter didn’t say the wrong thing this time around instead, when Jesus asked them if they wanted to leave, Peter said, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.