What is discipleship? What does it cost us? Does it involve self-denial?
Jesus was quite explicit about the cost of following Him. Discipleship requires a totally committed life: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). We must give up everything to follow Jesus. EVERYTHING!
Jesus is negotiating. I think maybe I can give up a few things (I really don’t want anyway). NOPE! That won’t work.
Sacrifice is expected.
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
Jesus is our Master. We are His slaves. That is the demand of discipleship. We don’t own ourselves. Jesus is our owner. What Jesus wants is all that matters.
Not all of Jesus’ followers were able to make such a commitment. There were many never followed or who left Jesus after a while.
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
The cost of discipleship involves a denial of all our self-interests and desires: Jesus’ followers were called “disciples” long before they were ever called “the Christians.” Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to exercise their will to follow Him (Matthew 9:9).
- Jesus demanded disciples become slaves of the Master (aka Owner). This isn’t optional even though it sounds repugnant. I am a slave of Jesus. I am totally devoted to Him.
- Matthew 16:24 — Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
- Matthew 10:38 — “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
- Luke 14:27 — “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
- As a disciple, am I learning from Jesus? The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28).
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