Summary: We often preach on salvation given so freely, but do we take the time to look at the price we have to pay to be a disciple?
The Price of Discipleship
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, a journey that he knew would end with him being crucified, and yet many of those following him thought he was on his way to establish his Kingdom in the capital city.
Sometimes I wonder if Jesus ever wanted to say: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”?
It’s not as if he led them on and pulled a bait and switch on them, instead he had been open from the very beginning about what was involved in following him, but still I’m pretty sure that there were those in the crowd who still thought Jesus was the coming messiah who would establish his earthly kingdom and reign in glory. And so they had decided to hitch their wagon to his star, so to speak.
From the very beginning Jesus had alluded to the fact that he hadn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom, but there were still those who didn’t get it. They envisioned an Israel free of the Roman occupiers who had made life miserable for so many of them. And so to clarify Jesus turns and tell them, “Salvation is free but it's not cheap, did you catch that? Salvation is free but it's not cheap.”
Well that isn’t exactly what he said, what he said is recorded in Luke 14:33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. What a statement, any one of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
We don't preach on that enough do we? We preach on salvation that's given so free, but we don't preach on the cost of serving Christ.
We have probably read these eight verses a dozen times, maybe more but somehow this concept of giving up everything we own seems to apply to others. “Well that's fine for them but Jesus wouldn't expect that of me, would he?” If you are his disciple he would.
You say “But hold it Denn, what if I don't want to be a disciple, what if I just want to be a plain, ordinary, everyday, average Christian?” Well it shouldn't take long in reading the New Testament to discover that Christ doesn't want plain ordinary, everyday, average Christians.
We have come to the place where we want to divide Christians into a couple of different categories. “You see pastor there are your nominal Christians, they're your C & E Christians, you know what I mean pastor, and you see them on Christmas and Easter. Then there are your Christian Christians, that's what most of us are, you know just your average, every day, semi-committed Christian, you know what I mean pastor, then there are the disciples, you know what I mean pastor, those super saints. They pray more, they give more they are more disciplined.”
The only problem with this theory is that disciple simply means one who follows a teacher or leader. A communist is a disciple of Marx, a Buddhist is a disciple of Buddha and a Moslem is a disciple of Mohammed. And so by definition if you profess to follow Christ then you are a, you ready for it, you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.
And so to make sure that everyone is on the same page Jesus makes three very clear statements About what it means to be a disciple.
Now with that out of the way let's go back to Luke 14:33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. Discipleship is About Our Possessions
So Christ is saying, anyone of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be his disciple. You ok?
You say “Yeah but pastor you don't really think that is what he meant do you?” I don't know, how many different meanings could there be to that statement, So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. Sure sounds like that's what he meant to me. “But everything pastor?” well that's what the book says, and we know that we don't debate the book, right?
The problem is when we hear these words we immediately think that Jesus is talking about money, but really money is the least of what he is talking about. Jesus is talking about everything you own and everything that owns you. He’s talking about all you have and all you are. You all right? If it was just money, it would be so easy. We could just write a cheque and get on with life.
So to find out what Jesus meant when he said “everything” we need to start at the beginning of the story.
Let's start at verse 25, these are the last days of Christ, and as he makes his way to Jerusalem and his final sacrifice the crowds push in and gather around to hear the teachings of this young influential rabbi.