Matthew 8:18-22 / Luke 9:57-62…
The cost of discipleship is no less today than it was back then. We know that nothing should take precedence over the call to follow Christ, but it is not as easy as some make it out to be. The practical problem is the actual acts of discipline required to follow Jesus when other “good” things are pulling against our commitment. Jesus provides us with keen insight into the conflicting commitments that would try and pull us away. These stories are about us.
The first seeker has his zeal met with an unexpected response. Jesus challenges the man to see that He walks the way of certain sorrows. Would he still want to follow knowing this? The truth of the trail is that testing, trial, and tribulation come before the triumph (Philippians 1:29). The hasty hero needs to realize what he is getting into (Luke 14:27-30).
The second would-be disciple is challenged to see that obedience to Jesus is more important than obligation to culture. This man did not place the value of Jesus high enough. He was hesitant; he wanted to wait until he received his inheritance to follow Jesus fully. Serving God by serving family can become an evil commitment if we fail to follow Christ (Luke 14:26).
The third man was challenged to see that following Jesus means going all out, and you can’t go all out unless you are all in (Luke 14:31-33). You can’t run with the old crowd (1 Peter 4:3-4). You can’t move forward if you keep looking back (Philippians 3:8-14). “Looking back” is like Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:26), not an actual return to the world, but a reluctance to break with it.
When we are hasty, hesitating, or halfhearted, we need to be reminded that Jesus is worth it.