26: "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple." - The crowds were pressing in and excitement was growing around Jesus. With these crowds around, He turns and begins outlining the true cost of discipleship.
27: "Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." - Following Christ means submission to Him and to the plans that God has in store.
28: "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?" - Jesus teaches that it is normal to review the costs of any endeavor before embarking and, therefore, prior to diving in to a life of discipleship, we should ascertain what it is we will be called to do and to give up.
33: "So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." - The possessions we refuse to give up are the gods in our lives that hold more importance to us than our relationship with Christ.
Points to Contemplate:
Is Jesus calling you to hate?
Why would Jesus outline such stringent demands of His disciples? Was He trying to limit the number of His followers? Or was He simply outlining the dedication that would be required? Are you willing to follow Jesus wherever He leads, no matter what the cost? Or are you setting limitations to the amount of dedication you will be willing to give? If loved ones begin to interfere with your relationship with Christ, will you be willing to move beyond their influence and continue to focus on the path Jesus has set before you? Can you do so in a loving and unselfish manner?
What cross is Jesus asking you to carry? Do you think of your cross as a special burden or sin you must carry? Or is it a desire or goal that needs to be set aside? The cross being carried by those being crucified represented a submission of guilt to the Roman government. What in your life is Jesus asking you to submit to Him? What part of your ego or pride do you need to shoulder and set aside in order to follow Jesus?
What will it cost you to follow Jesus? Have you ascertained the costs? Have you evaluated the plan to see if you have what it takes? Will you be able to follow wherever He leads or will there come a point where you will be unwilling to go any further? Have you drawn your limitations and established your barriers? Jesus wants all of you without reservation. Are you willing to hand over all aspects of your life into His loving hands? Are you willing to relinquish control? What possessions will you be asked to set aside? Promises of the Gospel:
The world is pressing in around Jesus, eagerly wanting to jump aboard the bandwagon to glory. And yet, Jesus knows that a life of discipleship requires the ability to set aside everything of the self before that glory can be achieved. He does not want half-hearted disciples. He will not accept anything less than our entire life. If there is anything we are unwilling to set aside, a relationship, a goal, or a dream, then this one thing will interfere with who Christ is calling us to be. It will become our god and our journey with Christ will end. When we become Christians the entire glory of the kingdom of God lies before us but change and transformation become the vehicle for our journey. It is not an easy ride, in fact, it is not a ride at all, but a pathway filled with opportunities to serve and work to be done in behalf of the living God - creator of all things.