February 18, 2018

The Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:25-35

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

—  Luke 14:26

Crowds grew larger as Jesus passed villages and towns on his way to Jerusalem. People everywhere were cheering him on, attracted by his teachings. And his committed followers provided a solid support base. Even so, not everyone welcomed Jesus with open arms.

The people knew he was different from other rabbis. In general, his teachings were exciting and radical. And he was an amazing healer! But did anyone know the price they would have to pay to follow him?

With his focus squarely on Jerusalem, Jesus asked them to choose their true love. It was all or nothing. Jesus scanned the crowd and said, in effect, “If you want to follow me, you’ll have to love me more than your parents, families, and siblings.” Many smiles turned to expressions of confusion and surprise. Cut all ties with family for Jesus alone? That was a lot to ask—for many, it was too much.

But that is what Jesus’ disciples had done. They had spent years with him already, and they knew he was the Messiah, the promised deliverer of God’s people (see Luke 9:18-36). Though they didn’t understand everything, they knew their Master, Jesus, was the Son of God.

How about you?

Lord, discipleship on your terms leads to a cross. It calls me to embrace you as my only Savior in this life and the one to come. Help me to trust you, Lord, forever. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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