Based on Biblical Text: Luke 9:57-58 (KJV)
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
As I sit to write each week I am fully aware that many if not all of the folk who will read my column have already made the decision to follow Christ. I believe that because the column is in a news paper that Christians read. The online version, available to all, is subscribed to primarily by folk who are seeking a deeper connection. Many are already members of a church. Most readers have already come to realize that Christ is worthy of our service because He was counted worthy to suffer and die for our sins.
I am motivated to continue writing for a number of reasons. One reason is that I often wonder how many of us stopped to count the cost of our discipleship when we gave our hand to the preacher and our heart to God. I am compelled to remind us that there is a price we all must pay if we are to be true disciples of the Living God. The truth of the matter is true discipleship costs everything we are and everything we have. All of our heart, soul and mind is required. We are challenged to submit completely not counting the cost, not hesitating nor stopping to consider the alternatives.
We find in our text Jesus is confronted with folk, much like us, who believe they are earnestly seeking to be His disciples. There are several but I would like us to consider one in this writing as we prayerfully consider the cost of discipleship.
There is a man who is referred to only as ‘a certain man’. I submit that this man is but one of the many faces in the crowd following Jesus to hear his teachings. Like many we know, the man is obviously moved by Jesus’ teachings. We can surmise he has been listening intently and inspired to follow as he says, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. The truth is this man was no different than we were when we first accepted Christ as our Savior and were initially overwhelmed with desire to follow Him. The man offered to become a follower of Jesus, and he made an unusual promise. The man said that he would follow Jesus wherever He led. The man was moved by some of the same reasons so many today are attracted to the Lord.
Like many in our churches the man enjoyed the presence of the Lord and His followers. This man was obviously motivated by the Lord’s wisdom and teaching. Clearly he appreciated the good the Lord did.
We see though that Jesus’ reply was directed on point to the heart of the man’s problem. The man like so many who have been moved had not counted the cost. Jesus says to him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Jesus wanted this man to know and He wants us to know that if we would become a disciple, we first have to develop a deeper conviction. This man, like us, had to count the cost.
Jesus who owns everything reminded the man that He offered no luxury and no material comfort. He only offered only self-denial. The man had to deny himself and sacrifice all he was and all that he had. Jesus Himself is clearly the prime example of sacrifice. Jesus denied Himself completely. Jesus sacrificed and gave all! He sacrificed both Himself and all He had. He did not even have a place to lay His head. The animals of the world did; the birds had their nests and the foxes had their holes, but Jesus had no place to call home. Our Savior Jesus gave all to meet the needs of a dying and desperate world.
Jesus wanted this man to understand and He wants us to understand we must count the cost. In other words a profession was not enough. Being willing to follow was not enough. The man must deny himself completely, sacrificing and giving all he was and had to meet the needs of a lost and desperate world. Please notice also that Jesus called Himself the Son of Man. This is critical as we are challenged to recognize that this certain man would never be a disciple unless he accepted Jesus, not as a good teacher, but as the Son of Man. He was to accept Jesus as the ultimate Servant of man! He must know Jesus as the perfect sacrifice who loved and cared and ministered and felt for all, and who did it perfectly.
It may be a little disconcerting to some to realize that though they profess to be willing and determined to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth, following is not enough. We must also accept Jesus’ sacrificial pattern for living. We are challenged to understand that it is not enough to profess self-commitment; we must also have a Christ-centered commitment. Clearly self-commitment can arise from strong wills, strong determinations, and strong discipline. Each of those things has the potential to cause us to appear dedicated on the surface. However Jesus wants us to understand that self-commitment is not enough for Him. For Jesus there has to be a total commitment to the Son of Man. We are called to abandon all of ourselves and all of the world. Luke 9:23 says, And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.