Summary: This sermon I preached in my seminary among my friends and teachers and it talks about the cost of being a desciple of Jesus
The cost of being a Christian
Intro: There are lot of sad stories in the Bible. The stories that grieve our hearts time and again. This is also one among those stories with a tragic end even though it had a wonderful beginning. It is a bit dramatic. When we enter into the first verse our spirit is stirred up. But when we are down through the last verse we too are sad seeing the tragic end of the story. Who and what made it into a sad story?
1. Who Jesus is to you? (Why do you call me good?)
It is commonly said that a Jewish rabbi would not apply the term ‘good’ along with his name. To them God alone is good and goodness belong to none else. This well educated and cultured young man knew it for sure. He did not make this statement unintentionally or unknowingly. Presumably it was a deliberate act. Even though he knew that no one calls any rabbis good he called him so, because he wanted to place Jesus above all other rabbis. But we can see an out and out denial from Jesus Christ. At the very out set Jesus denied to be called good, you know why? Because it was still the second rate and it was still mediocre. Bible says he came running. Surely that shows the intensity. By seeing such things I don’t think any of us would have acted the way Jesus did. For us he would have been the best example of repentance and discipleship. As far as the young man is concerned the term was higher but for Jesus it was still lower and the second rate. We can have the options. We need to understand that Jesus was not saying that he was not ‘Good’. We can decide what we would call Jesus and what he would be in our lives.
Jesus was in other words saying him ‘if you call me good call me God. The options are up to us. We are free to choose what Jesus would be in our lives. We are free to decide how we are going to follow him. But remember my friend he will never let us have a way in the middle. As C.S. Lewis said there only three options before us. Either we can call him a liar or a devil that cheated the whole humanity down through the centuries. Or we can call him a lunatic who thought him to be a God; if not we can fall prostrate before him admitting that he is the king of kings and the Lord of lords. But we can never call him a good teacher or a good prophet. He simply did not let us have that option. Many great people in our country including Gandhi the father of our nation had the same problem. According to them Jesus was a great teacher with high morale and wonderful principles; but never the Lord. So my friends, today many are on the wrong track.
The way we believe determines the way we follow him. This is the reason why Jesus denied the young man. Because he knew that, the mediocre Christians will make a mediocre religion. So my friends have your option first.
2. What is the religion of Jesus? (Are you willing to bear the cost?)
a) It is the religion of self denial.
In v21 Jesus says ‘....go and sell all you possess and give to the poor’ (NASB).
V.22 says ‘at these words his face fell’ (NASB). He came running but he walked away sad. He knelt before Jesus but he went away putting his head down. He was totally shattered and stunned. He thought Jesus would put a clearance stamp upon his attitude. But Jesus would have none of that. He was discouraged. Therefore he had to leave Jesus and his religion and go way sad that’s the reason I called in the beginning it’s a sad story.
The mark of Christianity is self denial. The ‘founder’ himself was someone who denied himself or emptied himself. This religion is tough in that sense and it can fit only those who van relinquish their privileges and positions.
Some time back the man said ‘I have kept all these things from my youth up’.
How can he keep the very first commandment that you shall have no other gods before me, when he has replaced his money for God?
How can he keep the fifth commandment when he does not regard the poor fathers and mothers around him as his own father and mother? 1Jn.4:20 says ‘... for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen’
He could not renounce his wealth for the sake of Having Jesus.