Christians, have you ever thought about what it actually cost to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Are you just a casual Christian, rolling through trying to accomplish your own goals? – doing your own thing? – living your life the way you see fit? Read this verse from chapter 14 of Luke:
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. ( Luke 14: 26-27)
Of course Jesus does not intend that you hate your family, but, the importance that should be placed on being His disciple compared to the importance of your family should be dramatically higher. Nowadays I would even say that concern for our families needs to come up in comparison to our concerns for being a success at work or in the business place. It is about priorities.
I believe Jesus means that He needs to be first in our lives. As he says in Matt 6:33,
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
What are these other things the Lord is talking about? In Matthew where this verse comes from they are food, drink and clothing. Here in chapter 14 of Luke it is father, mother, wife and children, brothers, sisters, and even your own life.
Since Jesus Is Asking Us to Give Up So Much – What Has Jesus Given Up?
Jesus was here to be our example for how we should live life. So did Jesus hate Father, mother, children, brothers, sisters, His kingdom, His throne, in comparison to bearing His cross to save us? Answer is yes to all of these things. What Jesus gave up so that He might save us who were lost is tremendous. Yet He valued us more than all He gave up.
First the book of John begins,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)
Later in the 1st chapter of John verse 14 says..
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..”
So right off the bat we have Jesus giving up His place in Heaven as God of all to come here as the Son of man and be subjected to the same life that men live.
Second, when Jesus began His ministry He had to forsake his mother, his brothers, cousins and the rest of His family in order to bear the cross he was meant to carry. To accomplish his mission of saving the world he would end up leaving His mother who was a widow, the rest of His family who probably thought He was crazy, and ultimately HIs disciples who depended on Him. I am sure that they all at some point must have felt abandoned by Jesus when he died.
So what drove Jesus to leave His throne to come here and live as a man? What drove Jesus to leave His mother and the rest of her family to begin preaching a message that would ultimately get Him killed? What drove the Lord to place Himself in jeopardy, when He could have called 12 legions of angels to rescue Him? Think about it. Jesus not only could have call the angels, but, just on a human level could have appealed to Pilate, the Governor at the time, and saved himself from an illegal trial to spare His own life but he did not. WHY all of this? There is only one answer. Us! You and me.
Why The Cost of Discipleship Is High
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The answer is love. He loved us. And His love for us compelled Him to give up all that he had in order to save us. Our love for Him should drive us to give up everything to be His disciple. It is a response to the love that God has shown us.
Some of us are afraid to abandon all we have to follow Him because we are afraid of losing what we [think] we have. It did not phase Jesus at all to give up all that He had for us. What did He gain? When I realized what the answer to this question was, I was blown away and completely humbled. The answer again is YOU! The answer is ME. Ephesian 1:18 says..
”The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints..”
You should read the full chapter. When I was reading this verse one day I stopped and asked the Lord, “What is it that you gain in all of this?” He spoke to my heart and simply said, “You.” We are what He has gained. And if we give up everything to be His disciple we gain Him, and, all that comes with Him. Read this verse from the book of Ephesians:
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29)
So discipleship may cost us everything, but, we will also gain everything and much more. And according to this verse anything we lose because of following Him will be given back to us a hundredfold. God is a Great God!