Summary: Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is more than just getting a ticket to heaven.
The Cost of Discipleship part 2
The Book of Mark
A. As we pointed out last week when someone takes a trip or changes a job or hires someone they take into account what it will take to accomplish the stated goal.
1. That is what Jesus is talking about in our passage here in Mark 8.
2. He is laying out those things that are necessary for someone to be His follower.
B. What is the cost of discipleship?
C. Last week we saw that it takes a total abandonment of ourselves.
1. We bring nothing to the table.
2. We are totally dependent on the Lord.
II. The second part of the cost of discipleship is the cross.
A. This again is something that we don’t fully understand unless we look at it from the point of view of a first century disciple.
1. This is one of the most misused statements that Jesus ever made.
2. People have used it to describe trials and troubles they are going through.
a) My marriage is my cross.
b) My work is my cross.
c) My addiction is my cross.
d) He/she/ they are my cross.
3. The issue here isn’t trials and trouble although the Christian life is full of them.
4. But I think there is more going on here.
B. We don’t understand the impact of Jesus statement because we are so far removed from the time and culture of that day.
1. Crucifixion was the execution of choice for the Roman Government.
2. It was used to non-Roman citizens and traitors.
3. The process includedn flogging the person and then making him carry his cross through the streets to a place outside of the city were he was nailed or tied to the beams and left to die a slow excruciatingly painful death which could take days sometimes.
4. Every one who was around in those days understood what taking up one’s cross meant.
a) It meant being totally and completely humiliated and abused.
b) It meant dying.
c) Rome used it not only as an instrument of torture and execution but also as a shameful pillory reserved for the worst and lowest. To the Jews it was a sign of being accursed
d) Talk about a deterrent for crime.
5. So here you have one of the most horrendous forms of execution and Jesus is saying that they must take up their own cross and follow Him.
a) How many do you think would be hanging around after that kind of invitation?
C. Jesus is emphasizing the extent to which our self denial must be.
1. Luke adds take up his cross daily!!
2. Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves the way of the cross. The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry his cross on the way to the place of execution,
3. Building upon the Roman practice of bearing the crossbeam to the place of execution, Jesus intended this in two directions: the death of self, involving the sacrifice of one’s individuality for the purpose of following Jesus completely; and a willingness to imitate Jesus completely, even to the extent of martyrdom.
III.The third part of the cost is to follow.
A. The word means to accompany someone – to be going the same way.
B. This word is used mostly in the gospels and most often is used to refer to following Jesus.
1. Following Jesus ranges from the casual crowd to the dedicated disciples.
a) Mark 3:7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea
b) Mark 6:1Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.
2. Jesus called the disciples to follow Him.
a) Mk.1:17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
b) Mk.2:14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
C. In the context of our passage the call becomes even more specific.
1. This is a clear call to discipleship.
D. This is a serious call too.
1. Mt. 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
2. Jn.12:26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
3. Luke 9:59-60 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”