What does it cost to follow Jesus?
Prices seems to be soaring these day! Have you noticed? Building materials are going through the roof. If you want to build a deck or a dock, you might be shocked how much the lumber costs right now. The cost is likely double, or even triple, what it was a year ago. If you plan to build anything, you better count the cost!
The same is true with discipleship. If you want to follow Jesus as His disciple, it is imperative to count the cost! So what does it cost to follow Jesus? What is the cost of discipleship?
In Luke 14, Jesus lays out the terms or costs of discipleship. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He was drawing a massive following. People loved the miracles, healing, and free food Jesus was offering. He was exciting, interesting and trending white hot! But Jesus had serious concerns about many in the crowd. It was clear many loved His gifts, but not necessarily the life He was calling them to. That may be true of some believers today… So Jesus makes His expectations very clear in Luke 14:26-27;33. We spent some time unpacking this passage a few weeks ago, but it is such a vital teaching, I want to make sure we “get it.”
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple… 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Luke 14:26-27; 33
3 Expectations or Costs of Discipleship
Jesus expects complete devotion. (Luke 14:26) He expects us to love Him more than anything or anyone else on earth! That is, our love for Him would be so deep that our love for anything or anyone else, even those closest to us, would seem like hatred in comparison. Do you love Jesus that much?
Jesus expects a transfer of ownership. (Luke 14:27) He expects us to take up our cross and follow Him. The cross illustrates one thing: Death. So He expects us to die to self daily! (Luke 9:23). I heard about a man who sold his California home in January, 2020, but he never moved out to give possession to the new owner. Try as he might, the new owner can’t evict him because of a government moratorium on evictions due to COVID! As crazy as that sounds, some who believe want to maintain ownership of their lives; but Christ calls us to transfer ownership to Him. (Mark 4:5; 16-17)
Jesus expects a heart yielded to Him above everything else. (Luke 14:33). The picture that Christ is painting here is bigger than simply giving away everything that we physically own. It really means to emotionally and spiritually let go of everything so that what we possess doesn’t possess us! In other words that we would not be possessed by our possessions. (Matthew 6:24)
I want to offer two more clear costs of discipleship found in God’s Word…
1. To follow Jesus, I must be willing to give my very best to Him. (Mark 14:3-7; 9)
What Mary did was considered extravagant by many in the room; she took a very expensive perfume, likely a family heirloom, and didn’t simply put a few drops on Jesus’ head, she poured the entire contents on Him to illustrate her love, honor and admiration… it was an act of worship. Would you do that?
Why do you think so many are willing to give only some or very little of themselves to the One who has given so much to us? Pastor Greg Laurie tells the story of a farmer who was renown for his stinginess. When the farmer’s cow gave birth to two calves, he looked at them and said, “Lord, I’m so thankful for this blessing that I am going to give you one of my calves.” He told his wife of his decision, which surprised her in light of his normally selfish ways.
When she asked him which calf he was planning to give to the Lord, He said, “I’m not sure yet.” As time went by, one of the calves became sick. A few days later, the farmer came out of the barn, the lifeless calf in his arms, and sorrowfully announced, “Honey, I’ve got bad news. The Lord’s calf just died.”
The sad truth is that some Christ-followers do the same thing. We give God the leftovers, what we don’t want, or don’t need, or don’t really care about…. But shouldn’t we be offering Him our very best, in light of Who He is and what He has done for us?That’s what Mary did; and Jesus was right, we’re still talking about it 2000 years later. Are you giving Jesus the best of your time, your talents, your treasures, or are you giving Him your leftovers?
2. To follow Jesus, I must be willing to give up anything that hinders my commitment to Him. Do you realize that you are not your own; that you have been bought with a price? So as followers of Christ, we are to glorify God with everything we are… with all of our being! (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I read in a commentary that God didn't purchase us at a discount store for a small price; He purchased each person on the cross at the cost of his Son’s life. Therefore, as Believers, we are to honor God spiritually with everything we have physically. So what does that mean? It means that my time is His… my talents are His… my treasures are His. All that we possess physically, we can honor Him with spiritually. Is there anything that you are holding onto that is hindering your commitment to Him?
True discipleship will involve sacrifice… Sacrifice requires commitment. If you aren’t committed to Christ, you won’t make many sacrifices for Him. Let go of whatever is holding you back and fix your eyes on Him! Fix your eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2)
For so much more, click here to listen to Follow Me: Becoming a Disciple of Jesus - Part 4.