Would you leave everything behind to follow Jesus? Would you give up your life for the sake of the Gospel?
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus and turning to them he said: 26 “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. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
Every single time I read those first couple of verses I exclaim OUCH! Can anyone be a disciple if these are the requirements? Hate is a pretty strong word. I love my father & mother, my brothers and their wives so how can I be a disciple? I think what Jesus is saying here is, are you willing to give up everything, family, friends possessions, things that make you happy, to follow him to the cross? The cross isn’t just some nice picture or piece of jewellery that we wear but it represents a humiliating painful death. Are you willing to give up everything to follow Jesus if it means that you might lose your life?
To be fit for the kingdom of God we need to be willing to give up everything to follow Jesus otherwise we are good for nothing. They are pretty harsh words but Jesus was pretty serious. He knew what was ahead for him and he knew that his disciples would be scared but he wanted them to be ready to follow him whole heartedly.
I’ve heard it explained a bit like this: If someone asked you to follow them to a remote village to take medical supplies to people who were cut off from the world and needed help would you go? Now if on the way they said some of your team will die along this next section and it’s going to be a hard climb so you need to leave everything behind, would you keep going for the sake of the mission?
It’s the same thing for the mission of sharing the gospel with the whole world. Are you willing to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel being proclaimed?
Head: Do you find this passage hard to read? If so why?
Heart: What are you willing to give up and what are you not willing to give up for the sake of the Gospel? Is there something that you need to be prepared to give up?
Hands: What would change in your life today if you were living it ready to give up everything to follow Jesus? Is there something you can give up doing so that you can share the gospel with someone or spend time reading Jesus words today?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thanks that you sent your Son, Jesus, to live and die a humiliating death so that we could live. Please help us to live lives that are proclaiming your gospel to others. Please help us to be willing to give up everything, including our lives to follow you and be your disciples. Please give us wisdom to know when we need to give things up. In Jesus name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Who You Say I Am
Emily Andrews – Living Church City South