“Lord, I will follow you…” (Luke 9:57, NKJV)
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, NKJV) (Emphasis is mine)
“…if anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NKJV)
Jesus wanted followers. Jesus sought some to follow him and he allowed others to tag along with him. Over the course of three years many men and women came and went as followers. Jesus had some extremely difficult standards for what he meant by follow him.
Jesus did not want anyone to follow him blindly. He was not looking for people to tag along casually with no thought of what it meant to follow. He didn’t want people to think that it was an easy thing to follow after him. He wanted them to know that following after Jesus would be costly.
Two illustrations were used by Jesus to demonstrate to those who contemplated following him that a great amount of thought needed to be applied. First, those who are engaged in the task of building a tower carefully estimated and considered the cost of building. If they did not do this they would find themselves unable to complete their project and would end up looking very foolish.
Second, a king who is contemplating going to battle against an enemy needs to evaluate the intelligence that he had gathered in order to determine if he could win or not. If he could not win then he needed to pursue a peace plan.
Do not be in a rush to follow after Jesus. Look past the promises and fairy dust offered my well meaning people. Resist the impulse to run after glitter and gold. Many, with good intentions, have made the gospel so easy and following Christ so attractive that the crowds are willing to follow after a Jesus of someone’s imagination. When the invitation is extended to follow Jesus be sure to ask the question, what will it cost me? Am I willing to pay that price? Am I really willing to put my hand to his plow and never look back? Am I really willing to leave and forsake houses, lands, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters to follow him? Am I willing to really deny myself, my own desires, yea my own passions? Am I really willing to die to myself and all of my dreams? Am I willing to pick up a cross, and instrument of death, and die daily? Am I really willing to “hate” my mother and father or my brothers and sisters?
Some followed on rocks but when the sun came up were scorched. Some followed amongst thorns but were choked by them. These started out following but never counted the cost of following Jesus. When you began following did you ask what it would cost?