The Cost of Discipleship - 1
August 29, 2020
Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" (Matthew 8:18-20).
What does it mean to be a committed Christian and disciple of Jesus Christ? Certainly more than what the modern church requires of a person. Jesus’ requirements far exceed that of the church. George Gallup (Gallup Poll) states that fewer than 10% of evangelical Christians could be called deeply committed to Jesus. Most people who profess Christianity don’t know basic Bible doctrine and don’t act differently than most non-Christians. George Barna found that 46% of evangelicals read their Bible only once a week, some not at all.
In the text above, a Scribe came to Jesus wanting to be His disciple. There’s a lot about this situation that’s not given to us in the passage - What was his motive? Was he trying to trap Jesus? Was he sincere in his desire or was he trying to get close to Jesus as a spy for the Pharisees? Was he seeking to somehow tap into the power that Jesus had? We don’t know. But whatever his motive, the cost of following Jesus was too high for him pay.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who was executed in a Nazi prison, wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Jesus said as much in Matthew 16:24-25, If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The example of this is Jesus Himself - He owned no home of His own, not even a bed to sleep on. He was a stranger in the world He created, a wanderer and an outcast among His own people. He gave up heaven to be clothed in human flesh as our Messiah, Lord and Savior here on earth. He requires nothing less from those who would be His disciples today.
Are we to be like Jesus and the early disciples? In principle - yes. A person comes to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, not just Savior. This doesn’t mean we leave home and family and job to be a monk in a monastery or a nun in a convent. It does mean that Jesus becomes the priority in life. Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that" (James 4:13-15).
“Lord Jesus, the cost of discipleship is greater than most of us can bear. We love the lives we make for ourselves, our creature comforts, our routines. Open our eyes and hearts and minds to the greater call in life, which is to follow You wherever You lead us, and to minister to whomever You would have us minister. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”