[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
The Cost of Discipleship by Jonathan Holmes
Read: Luke 14:25-33
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a large task like mowing the yard or driving somewhere and stopped to consider, “Is this really worth it?” You ask this question because you see how much time you have invested in the task and you begin to weigh the alternatives. “Couldn’t I just pay someone to mow my yard?” “Why didn’t we fly here?” When we count the costs we begin to ponder if we made the right decision.
If you have never found yourself asking this question about following Jesus, then you will. Whenever we face obstacles, are tempted by sin, or face tragedy we look at our relationship with Jesus and think to ourselves, “Is this really worth it?” In Luke 14 Jesus challenges the crowd gathered around Him to “count the cost” of being His disciple, because it is costly. Jesus describes the cost of being His disciple by saying:
A disciple loves Jesus > everything else. (v. 26) Jesus doesn’t mean to literally HATE everyone—He’s overstating His point like we do when we say, “I’m so hungry I’m gonna DIE.” A disciple’s loyalty and love falls to Jesus first and their love for everything else is incomparable.
A disciple carries his cross. (v. 27) The Roman Empire would force the criminal to carry his cross at least part of the way to the execution site. Carrying his cross through the city was intended to be an admission that the emperor was correct in their sentencing him to death. A disciple must carry their cross and follow Him as a public display that Jesus is their Lord and they would follow Him even to death.
After sharing these two costs of discipleship Jesus shares two parables to help the crowd realize the importance of counting these costs before they claim to be His followers. The parables both hit on the importance of counting the costs while the tower teaches us that we must not be like the foolish builder who is not able to pay the full cost. The warring king teaches us that we must be able to sacrifice a desired victory all while counting the cost.
Discipleship is costly. It is costly because it costs a man his life. Discipleship is filled with grace because it gives us the only true life. That is why Jesus so desperately wants us to count the costs and not end up like the tower builder or warring king unable to finish well. Jesus’ followers understand the cost of disciple and must be willing to pay the full price.
- Have you every stopped and considered the costs of following Jesus?
- What lessons can you learn from the tower builder and warring king?
- Thank God for the opportunity to lay down your life to find true life in Him. (Luke 9:23-24)
- Ask God to show you areas in your life in which you are not ready to pay the full price of discipleship.