Walking in Truth Devotional Update
Jesus Teaches Us to Count The Cost
Great multitudes began following Jesus and He turned to address the subject of discipleship. Jesus was warning them and people today that one must count the cost of following Him. Jesus wanted people to follow Him but there was and is a cost to following Him. When it comes to salvation, God wants everybody to come – He wants everyone to be saved (I Tim. 2:4); but when it comes to discipleship, He wants only those who are willing to pay the price.
There was much more involved in following Jesus than the miracles, healings, and free food. While those things were real benefits, they needed to understand who Jesus really was and is and what He requires for us to follow Him. So, Jesus explained the kind of dedication that is required to be one of His disciples. Many preachers today are lying to the people by telling them that Christianity is an easy life, and everyone should become a Christian. There is real joy and happiness in following Jesus regarding the spiritual blessings He provides. But much is required that many are unwilling to give (Matt. 7:13-14).
The truth is that Jesus will not accept just anybody to be a disciple. Note that in vs 26, 27, and 33 Jesus said in each verse “He cannot be my Disciple.” Jesus is truly serious – He is calling for a serious commitment that requires putting Him first in everything.
There are three examples the Lord presents to help us understand how to count the cost of being His disciple. First, anyone coming to Christ esteeming father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, yea his own life also, cannot be My disciple (v. 26). What did Jesus mean by the word “hate”? Did the disciples of Jesus treat their family members hatefully, and disrespectfully? No, they did not. The term “hate” is used in the sense of loving less, not “hate’ in the sense of dislike with strong feeling. Otherwise, there would be a contradiction between this passage and Ephesians 5:29, wherein Paul said that “no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” Jesus meant that absolutely nothing may become an obstacle in our life in following Him.
“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Jesus was not referring to a physical cross. “Take up your cross and follow Me” means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus. This is called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender. After each time Jesus commanded cross bearing, He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:24-25). No relationship, no desire, not even your own will, and your own life, may become hindrances in fulfilling the will of God in your life. Paul wrote: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).
To illustrate the point further, Jesus introduced the idea of building a tower. Asking who would not first sit down and think through what such an undertaking would cost, in order to decide if his resources were enough to bring the project through in completion. Changing the metaphor somewhat, Jesus further compared counting the cost of discipleship to a monarch with an inferior fighting force coming against one such as he with a superior force. I believe Dallas Willard sums this whole passage up exceptionally well: “The entire point of this passage is that as long as one thinks anything may really be more valuable than fellowship with Jesus and his kingdom, one cannot learn from him…. What this passage…is about is clarity. It is not about misery or about some incredibly dreadful price that one must pay to be Jesus’ apprentice…. The point is simply that unless we clearly see the superiority of what we receive as his students [his disciples] over every other thing that might be valued, we cannot succeed in our discipleship to him.”
Are we putting Jesus first in every way?
By Guy Robersin
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