Jesus was quite explicit about the cost of following Him. Discipleship requires a totally committed life: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). I must give up everything to follow Jesus. EVERYTHING!
Jesus is negotiating. I think maybe I can give up a few things (I really don’t want anyway). NOPE! That won’t work.
Sacrifice is expected: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’”(Matthew 16:24). Jesus is my Master. I am His slave. That is the demand of discipleship.
Not all of Jesus’ followers were able to make such a commitment. There were many never followed or who left Jesus after a while. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
The cost of discipleship involves a denial of all my self-interests and desires: Jesus’ followers were called “disciples” long before they were ever called “the Christians.” Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to exercise their will to follow Him (Matthew 9:9).
- Jesus demanded disciples become slaves of the Master (aka Owner). This isn’t optional even though it sounds repugnant. I am a slave of Jesus. I am totally devoted to Him.
- Matthew 16:24 — Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
- Matthew 10:38 — “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
- Luke 14:27 — “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
- As a disciple, am I learning from Jesus? The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28).