The call to discipleship is on Christ’s terms, not ours.
The cost of discipleship is determined by the Lord, and not
by the servant.
In our desperate attempt to play the numbers game in
today’s churches we invite people to come and join without any regard to the
cost of discipleship.
Jesus Christ is Lord; He is the only Lord.
Jesus reached out to touch a leper, and the leper was
instantly cleansed. He is the Great Physician and Master over all kinds of
Jesus lay asleep in the stern of the fishing boat and when
the disciples feared for their lives Jesus spoke and the storm departed. When
Jesus spoke, God spoke. To defy the Lordship of Jesus Christ is to defy God. He
spoke as God’s authority and as God the Creator. He is the Lord of creation.
Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Only God can forgive sin. Jesus is the sinner’s friend. Jesus Christ is our Lord
The same Jesus who has authority over demons, sickness,
death, nature has the same authority over every Christian. He is Lord. If we are
to be His disciples it must be on His terms.
Dr. Luke in his gospel tells of three individuals who were
would be followers of Christ (Luke 9:57-62).
One of the individuals must have been listening to the
teaching of Christ and he approached and said, “I will follow You wherever You
go” (v. 57).
It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm and
excitement of the moment and join the crowd. But this man must have failed to
think through what following Jesus involves.
Jesus did not want him to have any false apprehensions. He
said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of
Man has nowhere to lay His head” (v. 58).
At the end of His ministry, the day of His crucifixion,
Jesus owned nothing, but the clothes on His back. The cost of discipleship for
Jesus was high. It cost Him His life in execution as a criminal to follow the
will of His heavenly Father. Jesus was obedient unto death.
Jesus calls us to radical discipleship. Is this the reason
so many drop out after joining up?
Another person heard the call, “Follow Me” (v. 59). But he
replied, “Permit me first to go and bury my father” (v. 59b).
Was the man’s father dead? Probably not, because he was
there listening to Jesus. If his father had been dead this man would have been
busy with the details because in Jesus’ day a person had to be buried the same
day that he died. The man is probably saying that he wants to wait and remain at
home as long as his father lives, and then he will consider following Jesus
after this phase of his life is over.
Jesus’ call to discipleship is radical. “Allow the dead to
bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of
God” (v. 60).
Let the spiritual dead bury the dead. They are dead to
spiritual realities. On the other hand, those who are spiritually alive will
drop everything, counting the cost, to follow Jesus as Lord.
Discipleship demands that we drop everything, even our
families and anyone opposing Him. Who would seek to exercise a higher
relationship of affection in our lives? Discipleship makes us chose between
Christ and others.
Another person in the crowd said, “I will follow You Lord,
but first permit me to say goodbye to those at home” (v. 61). Jesus replied, “No
one, after putting his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the
Kingdom of God” (v. 62).
Who but God could make such demands on His followers? He
has not left the choice of standards of following Him up to us. We want to
submit Him to our lordship and it will not work. Jesus is Lord. He determines
the conditions of discipleship. If Jesus is Lord then this kind of discipleship
is really not radical, or extreme, but is normal. Since He is God we owe Him
total obedience and total self-surrender. That is radical in the world’s way of
I suspect we are quick to join up without counting the
cost, and then when faced with the choices of obeying our Lord and Master or the
pleasures and demands of the world we follow our true desires. You cannot serve
two masters; you will love one and hate the other. The disciple no longer lives
for himself, but for the Kingdom of God. What happens to my life in unimportant.
What really matters is my submission to the will of God.
The disciple of Jesus Christ cannot live to please himself.
He can live only to please the King. “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship,
grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate,” wrote
Bonhoeffer. “Costly grace . . . calls us to follow, and it is grace because it
calls us to follow Jesus Christ.”
Where is your priority? Who is Lord of your life?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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