Summary: Accepting Christ as your savious is one ting, but what about everything else that comes with it?
The Real Cost of Discipleship
A young boy bursts into his house one afternoon and begins a frantic search that takes him through the entire house for Rex, the family dog. Eventually he runs into his aunt who greets him with the sad news that she had found the gate open that morning and that the dog had disappeared. She had driven up and down the street, circled the block a few times but there was no sign of the dog.
For the rest of the day he was miserable, but the fact that the dog’s name and address were printed on its license tags seemed to make him feel better. He was sure that some good soul would find it and return it. As the day progressed, more and more hope began to fade.
Finally about six o’clock that evening the phone rang and his heart almost burst out his chest. He flew down the stairs almost throwing his aunt who was on her way up the stairs back down. Apparently his father had found the dog at the animal control center where it was dropped off after being found in a mall parking lot barking up a storm. So somebody had called the center and had had it picked up. Now the family would have to pay a redemption fee to the center for keeping the dog safely. Basically he had to buy his own dog back. That’s what redemption means doesn’t it?
That’s what God did for us. Because He created us, we belong to Him. But our sin has separated us from Him, so He had to redeem us or buy us back to himself by paying for our sin, and the currency He used was the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 reminds us that “in Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Jesus died so we could be forgiven and then truly belong to God. 1 Peter 1:18 and 19 puts it this way: “It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…but with the precious blood of Christ a lamb without blemish or defect.”
So suffering has always been a big part of the Christian faith and the Christian cross has always been a central theme of Christianity; it is a sign of Christ’s death but just as importantly, it is also a sign of the disciples way of life.
In Luke 14:25. 26, Jesus when He was most popular and successful, uses a vivid even shocking Hebrew way of highlighting an important truth. In verse 25 we’re told large crowds were traveling with Jesus.
He had a way of doing that; of attracting large crowds; people who were so impressed with His authoritative and dynamic preaching technique, that they traveled many miles to hear Him, sometimes at the risk of foregoing meals. This must have been one of those times when they were eager to hear what great pearls of wisdom would come from this master preacher and evangelist.
But nothing could have prepared them for what came next. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and his mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciple, and anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me, cannot be my disciple.”
Can you imagine the shock? How jolted these people must have been? Jesus had a way of doing that didn’t He? A way of shocking people; of shaking them out of their complacency. In the end that’s what got Him crucified. Surely there must have been those in their midst who thought he was crazy. But the point that Jesus was making was a fairly simple one. He was saying that human relationships are to be highly valued, but if it should ever come to a choice between even the most precious intimacy and our relationship with Jesus, the latter must always take priority.
There is no greater love than the one a man has for his family-for his wife, his children-it is great enough to drive some men to sacrifice their very lives for their families. Jesus is saying here, “love me like that.”
Discipleship is a long term commitment that makes considerable demands upon us. We rightly emphasize the joy, the blessing and victory of Christianity, but that must not blind us to the fact that at the heart of every believer’s faith there is the cross.
Jesus was not comfortable with the crowds that thronged Him because their commitment was shallow and based on what they hoped to get out of Him. Jesus knew that the life He offered was worth more than anything of which they could conceive but were they prepared to pay the price? Verse 28 of Luke 14 asks the question “suppose one of you wants to build a tower, will you not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”