Summary: How do we determine the cost of following Jesus? What does it take to follow Him wholeheartedly.
Iliff and Saltillo UM church
Second Sunday of Lent
February 20, 2005
“The Cost of Following Jesus”
INTRODUCTION: At the beginning of this chapter we see 4000 people fed with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus told his disciples to feed the people and when they said, “yes, but how?” he gave the miracle. Later some Pharisees wanted to see a SIGN as proof. Jesus refused them a sign. At Bethsadia Jesus healed a blind man. He continually ministered to the crowds AND to the individual. All of these events were leading up to the cross. There were so many things people did not understand. Jesus wanted to know how people perceived Him. He asked the question, “Who do men say that I am?” He got various answers:
John the Baptist
one of the prophets
Then Jesus asked Peter--”Who do YOU say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” From this point on, Jesus started to teach them about things leading up to His death.
1. The Son of man must suffer many things
2. be rejected of men
3. be killed
4. rise on the 3rd day.
Peter strongly objected. He said, “Not if I have anything to do about it. This won’t happen to you.”
Jesus recognized the same temptation coming to him as he had heard in the wilderness. The temptation to not complete his mission. He told Peter, “Go away from me Satan, you don’t care about the things of God, you’re only seeing things in human terms.”
At this point Jesus spoke to the large crowd and also to the individual. They all had the same opportunity to hear and to respond. He said to all of them--his closest disciples and to the crowd on the fringe. “If anyone would come after me he must do three things:
1. deny himself
2. take up his cross
3. follow me
1. To DENY Oneself: Means more than giving up something for Lent. Some people will say, “I’m giving up chocolate candy for Lent or I’m giving up smoking or I’m giving up e.mail. Some even pick out something that is not difficult to give up--something they never do anyway--like “I’m not wearing my snow boots to bed or I’m giving up skydiving for Lent.” Although you could deny yourself something such as this, Jesus was talking about something different from that. He was talking about the process of becoming His true disciple. IF anyone wants to be my disciple then he has to be different from what he is now. The people in the crowds had no real commitment to him--his disciples were on the way but even Peter had a lack of understanding.
What does the word DENY mean anyway? The Greek word used here is a strong word. It is the same used for when Peter denied Jesus in the courtyard--it means to state that you have NO CONNECTION with something--to state that you are not connected in ANY WAY to whatever is in view. Deny here is not the same as what we usually mean by self denial when we are giving up SOMETHING.
Jesus is talking about giving up OUR SELF SUFFICIENCY--our right to handle our life by ourself without any regard for what God wants.
The Message Bible says, “anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat. I AM”
I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “You are not your own; you are bought with a price.” Jesus is saying, “if you are going to follow Me, you no longer own yourself.” He has ultimate rights. He has Lordship of your life.
People say, “I don’t want ANYONE TELLING ME WHAT TO DO--NOT EVEN GOD.” What makes us like this? The writer of a book called The Art of Being a Big Shot says it is our PRIDE that makes us want to be independent of God. We want to run our own lives, call our own shots and do our OWN THING. We say, “I’ll do it MY way.”
Jesus is saying, “No, if you intend to follow me then, I’m in charge. God, not self must be at the center. They would need to quit making SELF the object of their life. Jesus told them, “If anyone wants to follow me he must say, “NO” to the things he wants and “YES” to the things I want.
STORY: Glen Plashin in his book Turning Point tells of an incident that occurred during his senior year in college during the Great Depression. His family didn’t have the money for his first quarter’s tuition. His father said, “Don’t worry son, we’ll go to the bank and I’ll sign your note to get the money. The next day the banker said, “I’m sorry but without collateral we can give no loans--no exception to the rule.”