Summary: Luke shared three encounters from Jesus’ life to teach us the cost of following Jesus.
The Cost of Following Jesus
I recently was moved by an encounter I had with a little girl. We were in line at the small town store where I live. She was small and dirty. Her clothes were unwashed, her feet barefoot. Dirt was upon her face, but she did not notice. She was smiling. As we
waited in line, I noticed that she stood patiently, clinging to two overwhelming handfuls of candy. When her turn came, she stretched upward to place the candy on the “grown up” sized counter. As the cashier began to count the pieces and their price, that filthy
little girl began to reach in her pocket and proudly display one single, shiny penny. She really looked as if with that one penny she could purchase the world! “I’m sorry”, the cashier replied. “But you do not have enough.” Without thinking, I placed a dollar bill
on the counter, and the look of disappointment on her face quickly turned to joy. A warm “thank you” melted my heart. I watched her leave the store wondering about her family and home. But then another realization struck me. She had neglected to count the
cost. How often have we done with our faith what that little girl did her candy? We embrace Jesus, as if he also is a candy cane to be devoured. We too must not forget the cost.
Perhaps if you’re like most Christians, there was a time in your early walk with Christ where you wondered if there was nothing more. Perhaps the fact that salvation is free was so emphasized that you neglected to realize that the disciple’s life was not a bed of
roses. Many of you are present today for various reasons. But I think it’s accurate to say that the majority of us are present out of a genuine desire to be followers of Jesus. Perhaps at this moment you’re undecided as to whether to follow him. Perhaps you
would already consider yourself a follower, but want to follow him more closely. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? What is involved? Let us turn to the Word of God for the answer to these questions. [Read text here.]
If anyone knew about counting the cost, Jesus did. In verse fifty-one of this same chapter, we see that Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Thus we know that Jesus was fully aware of what awaited him. He was living each day in the shadow of the cross. Each step was one step closer to the agonizing punishment that awaited him there. Yet he pushed forward. How appropriate that this was the setting for these three encounters about which we have just read. In this text we see that Luke shared three encounters from Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem to teach us the cost of following Jesus. From them, we learn an important lesson for today. Two thousand years later, Jesus is still calling us to count the cost of following him. The question then is what do we need to know about this cost? In each of these encounters, Jesus gives us a lesson to be remembered.
I) First, when counting the cost, we must remember the reality of the consequences.
We have to assume from the text, that somehow, some way Jesus knew something about the man in this first encounter that we do not know. We know that he took the
initiative to offer to follow Jesus. From the response he received, it would appear that there were consequences that he had not yet considered. Jesus says to him, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Well, we know from John chapter one that Jesus was not “homeless” in the traditional sense. Yet his response tells us something about Jesus’ attitude about the things of this world. There was nothing that
Jesus possessed, neither was there an area of his life, that had not been totally surrendered to his Father. The basic, fundamental consequence of a person’s decision to follow Jesus is a complete yielding of everything one would otherwise call their own.
A serious problem exists with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Perhaps you’ve heard that the city has now employed full time security to monitor and guard the premises. Ever since the bridge’s inception, literally hundreds of people end their lives
by leaping from it to their deaths. The duty of this patrol is to watch out for these suicidal people and stop them before they leap! Why is this particular bridge such a preferred place for people taking their lives, you ask? It is because early in the morning,
a dense fog settles in. Visibility is highly limited. Someone wishing to commit suicide can stand at the edge of the bridge at its peak and not see the water beneath. In fact, the fog is so dense, they cannot see far below their own feet. It is a deceptive appearance. It appears they are only jumping two or three feet, when in reality they are leaping