Read Matthew 8: 18-22
This passage stresses the radical demands of Jesus' call. His call, above all else for us as Christians, of what God's will is all about, and of what we are to be doing in our personal lives and in our churches is… Discipleship! Nothing else is more important, period. At the same time that He gives us this call, a great cost is placed before us that we need to accept. It is a cost that He paid on the cross, a cost of our will. It is a sacrifice of all that we may think is important, except that with eternity in mind, it is not.
Jesus' emphasis was to make Disciples just as His emphasis is today (Matt. 28: 18-20). This must take priority over preaching to crowds. The impact we will have will be more effective and real, as big crowds tend to want a show and have no concern to be educated or to grow spiritually (1 Pet. 2:11). Jesus desires for us to grow in Him, not to merely seek a show.
- None of these people were really turned away by our Lord. Rather, they, themselves turned away of their own will because they just wanted a show. Those who said they wanted to follow Him refused to pay the cost. Remember, our Lord knows what is in our hearts and what is motivating us (John 2:25).
- What Jesus did was not unprecedented or too radical. The radical part is to move what is in our way, our will and ideas. It was common for Greek teachers and philosophers to make hard demands on their potential students to test their resolve, commitment, and intentions. These hard demands were meant to discourage people who had bad intentions and ulterior motives from taking up their valuable time and resources. The best teachers would only take in a few of the worthiest students, just as most universities do today, with screening processes. Jesus' own profession as a carpenter was considered a very good profession. Many sought to get into it because it was far more lucrative and respected than the other occupations in an agrarian community where farming and fishing were the norm. Jesus must have had a lot of people seeking Him as a carpenter too, prior to His public ministry.
- What we have to beware of is our will and selfishness. Selfish intentions are common, and a part of our sinful nature that Jesus asks us to purge. We have to be honest and introspective as to why we want to serve Him, why we want to grow and be discipled. Because, if it is for egotistic and selfish gain, it will not be real or loving, and pride, spiritual blindness, and vacillation will become our mentors, and we will not have His will and glory in our sights. Jesus will be bearing with us in our unbelief and failures, but not being the One to help us grow (Luke 9:37-62)! Jesus called His disciples, all who fallow Him, to a higher standard of commitment beyond poverty and social status into real sacrificial servitude and discipleship lifestyle (Matt. 6:31-33; 10:34-37; 12:46-50; Luke 10:38-42; Acts 14:21-22; 2 Tim. 3: 10-12; 1 Pet. 2:9-10).
- Follow Me. Jesus asks us to place Him above all--including occupation, family, personal desires, and aspirations. All we desire and all our work must have Christ as the focus and purpose. A true disciple will not have a pecking order where Jesus is not number one on the list.There is a price to following Jesus. Most people did not want to pay that price, whether first hand with Christ himself, or today in the Church. We are not told if the man followed Jesus into the boat, or if the storm (verses 23-27) or his inclinations distracted him from this ever so important sojourn. To really follow Christ, we will surrender all to Him. But, what we give up is nothing to what we gain! Remember, Christ surrendered Himself so you can have eternal salvation. Should there not be a small piece of gratitude within you to say, "Hey, I will go wherever you call me?"
How much does discipleship cost?
The cost of surrendering ourselves to the Lordship of Christ is high! It was high for God, and it can be difficult and troublesome for us as well--troublesome as in how the ways of the world will come against us. But it is worth the cost and so much beyond. Remember, our faith is wonderful because our security is in Him. If we do not seize the peace, we will have trepidation in life and disconnect from God. This can cause fear and apprehension in the life of an unbeliever as he wonders if he should choose this Way, and even to the Christian who fears what might happen if he surrenders his all. The good news is the Cup of Cold Water we are given; this is the fact that we are precious and acceptable to God, and He has our best in His Will. We do not need to fear; He will care for us no matter what we face or give up. Christ is with us, holding us in His arms of Love.All because, we are redeemed, we are freed from the bondage of sin by the great cost of Christ's sacrifice of His shed blood that gives us "justification." He frees us from the "curse of the law" and "wickedness" (Ex. 13:13; 21:30; Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:24; 8:2; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; Col 1:14; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:15; Rev. 5:9).
If we respond to Follow Me with a "but" we will never truly follow. We will never grow in the depths of His precepts, or be able serve Him fully. We will remain in our status quo, saved perhaps, but uninvolved, sitting in a pew, with no impact or reason for being a Christian. If you have reservations, think them through. Do they have more to offer you? Do they have a greater purpose or impact? Will they follow you into eternity? Life is short, make the most of it and just go and follow Him! Be real and be committed! Do not let doubt, the pleasures of this world, or your sin distract you from life's greatest opportunity and adventure…His call! Embrace His call with unmovable trust and be assured that His plan is the best plan.
How much does discipleship cost?
- What do you believe is the most import call--above all else--for you as a Christian?
- Read 1 Peter 2:11: What is in the way of making discipleship a priority in your ministry?
- Selfish intentions are common and a part of our sinful nature that Jesus asks that we purge. How do they get in the way of His call for you and the church? How can you purge those selfish intentions?
- Do hard demands discourage you from commitments? If so, why?
- How do people with bad intentions and ulterior motives take up valuable time and resources? What can be done about it in a Christ- like manner?
- What can you do to take an honest and introspective look at why you want to serve Him?
- Read Luke 9:41: Is Jesus blessing you, or just bearing with you?
- Jesus called His disciples, meaning all who follow Him, to a higher standard of commitment. What does that mean for you, and how do you put it into practice?
- Have you, or have you observed in others, that in the zeal (which is very important) to win people for Christ, we sometimes neglect to tell people the cost of becoming His disciple?
- What can you do to make sure that you and your church do not get into, or remain in a status quo of being uninvolved, sitting in a pew with no impact or reason for being a church?
Have you counted the cost? Are you willing to pay the price? Do you know that both are required to follow Jesus?
© 2007, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/