Summary: Jesus used word pictures of a Tower and a War to show that following him will take Everything you have and Everything you are.
Discipleship Series # 2
What Does it Cost to Follow Jesus?
SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 14:25-27
In the TEXT we just read, a large crowd was following Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. The crowd thought Jesus was going to Jerusalem to be crowned as King. Jesus knew he was going to Jerusalem to be crucified. That’s why Jesus wasn’t impressed with the big numbers. These would-be disciples did not know what they had signed up for.
They were kind of like a bunch of Campers who think they’ve signed up to stay at the Hilton. Speaking of that, listen to these responses that were actually written on the Comment Cards at the Bridger Wilderness Area in Wyoming:
• In the future, please avoid building trails that go uphill.
• Why not pave the trails? Chair lifts would also be helpful so we can enjoy the view without having to hike so far.
• A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed?
• Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
• A MacDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead.
• Could you spray the wilderness to get rid of bugs, leeches and spiders?
• It’s a very nice wilderness, but there are too many rocks in the mountains.
(Mike Neifert, Light & Life Feb. 1997, p. 27)
This was the mentality of the crowd following Jesus. They thought they were on a Sunday School picnic where they would get free Fish ‘n Chips every day. When Jesus warned them to count the cost of Discipleship, he was not just talking to them. He was talking to every person who claims to be a Christian.
“Disciple” is just another word for a Christian. The term “disciple” occurs 269 times in the New Testament, while the term “Christian” only occurs 3 times. In Acts 11:26 we are told that The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. The two terms are interchangeable … in the same way that my “spouse” is also my “wife”--- or my “sibbling” is also my “brother.” If you are a Christian, you are a disciple.
In Luke 14:33 Jesus said, Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. You could also read it this way: Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be a Christian.
So what does it cost to be a Christian? It costs EVERYTHING. And He really means EVERYTHING. Look at this shocking statement in Luke 14:26: No one can be my disciple unless he hates his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters.
I’m sure that got their attention! What did Jesus mean when he said a disicple must hate his family? Miseo is the word translated “hate.” This had a different emphasis than we would give it. Miseo meant to put something below other things. In other words, a Disciple must place EVERYTHING below Jesus … even family members.
Now, putting family below Jesus doesn’t mean that we neglect our family. But it does affect family life in very real ways. I’ve seen some good examples right here in our church. For most of the years I’ve been here, George and Sandy Shaw have led a Christmas service at the Blanco Vista Home. They could easily say, “Christmas morning is for family. We have to put our family first”. Instead, they bring their family with them. In other words, they put service to God in first place.
I can think of other examples. Like the Longfields who turned a family vacation into a mission trip. For the money they spent they could have had a luxury trip. Instead they and their 3 boys spent their vacation helping the Snyders with their medical mission in Kenya.
I could give many more examples, because that is just the way Christians live. I remember that when our girls were still home, we planned our summer schedule around church camps and retreats. These things went on our calendar first, and other things had to fit around them.
If you want to know who is First in your life, look at your check register and your day-planner. Is your tithe the first check you write after payday? Do you plan your schedule around your service to God… or do you put other things first?
Have you counted the cost? Are you willing give up anything and everything to follow Christ? This doesn’t just mean we turn away from sin. That’s just part of it. Some of the things we give up may even be good things. We give up the good for the best. For a Disciple, nothing can ever be more important that Jesus Christ.
In Luke 14:27 Jesus said, Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. When Jesus said that, I picture the crowd just staring at him with their mouths hanging open in shock.