What does it cost to follow Jesus? Everyone has been asking that question for thousands of years. Like there is not any answer, it is a big secret, when in fact Jesus told us straight out what it would take. All right maybe not straight out, but certainly for those with the ears to hear. 25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 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. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. I heard nothing in that statement that I did not understand, that was not plainly spoken, whoever comes to me, whoever, there is no qualification to the invitation. He does not say that if you’re a man its one way or if you are a woman it’s another way. He says whoever comes. He doesn’t say only if you’re fat or if you’re skinny, an adult, or a child. He doesn’t say only if you’re black or white, gay, or straight, He says whoever comes to me. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gang banger, a junkie, a drunk, a whore or even a murderer, it doesn’t matter if you have tattoos all over your body or bits and pieces out of a junk stuck in your nose, it doesn’t matter. And you can be sure that in that crowd there would have been all those people and many more which your average person would find objectionable, would be horrified that Jesus included them into the whoever club. Because we know that what Jesus really meant was only me and you should be allowed in this club, right and I’m not too sure about you. Right, because whoever doesn’t mean whoever, it means only the ones we choose to be in the club are allowed, yes. Yeah, I think this is another one where we fail, (epically fail) we don’t get to choose who gets into the whoever club.
A good thing too …considering what you have to do to get in. You have to hate everyone else, your family, even yourself, nothing can come between or before the Lord in your life. This is one of those literal passages that people like to use as an axe over your head and beat you to death with it. So, let’s take a moment to place things into context, I assure you that Jesus does not mean you have to hate your wife, your parents, or children, and especially not yourself or your family. Jesus’ entire ministry was about the kingdom of God and love for one another, not hate. Jesus told us from the very first that He would not speak to the crowds except in parable, indeed Jesus said in [Matthew 13:34] 34 All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. Jesus does not want our hatred, but neither will He tolerate our halfhearted participation. Love your wife, love your children, your parents, and love your neighbor but do not put them before the Lord, do not allow them to come between you and Jesus. Jesus should always be our number one focus, spreading the “good news”, making disciples, and glorifying God. Amen. Jesus wants our undivided attention, all the time, not just when I feel like it, not just in church for an hour. No, we are told to pray without ceasing, it says in [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18] 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. We are to Pray for guidance because Jesus doesn’t want just anyone. He doesn’t want anyone that isn’t willing to first sit down and count the cost, because there’s a price that we have to pay, that all people have to pay if they’re gonna take up the cross and follow Christ and it’s not as easy as, or cheap as, you think it will be. 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Jesus wants us to stop and to first consider what the price is, because let me tell you, once you pay the price, there are no refunds. You may think that you can walk away but I’m here to tell you that once you decide either way, once you pay the price, that’s it… there is no going back. That is why Jesus wants you to stop and consider what you are doing this is serious business, it’s not a game. There are consequences to your decision and eternal life is the least of them, your eternal soul hangs in the balance, that is what you are considering, so don’t be foolish, don’t rush into anything, take the time, and estimate the cost. Do you have enough?
The foundation has been paid for with the blood of Christ, the stones that you need to secure that foundation are in the words of God, the bible will provide you the stone to build with. But the furnishings and the mortar must be paid for with our blood and sweat, we must pay to build our home on that foundation with those stones, we must provide the mortar that binds it together, that provides cohesion to the whole, we must sacrifice ourselves to the service of Christ, we must die to ourselves and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour before we can place so much as a pebble on the foundation that we inherit through the grace of God, as His children we are entitled to this, but you still have to pay the inheritance tax. So, tell me are you willing to pay that much, or will you start and then not be able to finish? Will you find yourself being ridiculed? Be careful. Jesus does not want half-finished buildings in the kingdom of God or people who rush into the next best thing, foolish people who fail to count the cost, people who refuse to pay the price. 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. Once again Jesus is plainly telling us what the cost of discipleship is. None of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. Jesus doesn’t say a few, or some, or most of, but all of your possessions. Again, we need to put things into context. Context, context, context, the Bible, your life, everything is about context. In this parable Jesus is not telling you that you have to throw your clothes away and give every last dime to the poor and go live on the street. Jesus wants you to consider the cost, it is not a minimal cost, it will cost you everything to follow Christ, not only will it cost you everything that you own, eventually it will cost you your life. Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart. Following the Lord is not for the foolish or the prideful. [Proverbs 16:18]18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. And make no mistake others will wage war against you so as to hasten that fall and in your pride will you disregard the power of the Lord, will your foolish pride cause you to dismiss your only ally. In the parable the other king is being attacked by an overwhelming force and must decide if he will fight to the death or ask for peace. Will you compromise with the devil and have peace, or will you fight for God, even if it means your destruction. Hard decisions. But when has God ever failed us, never.
Yet we have the responsibility to choose, one or the other. If we are to follow Christ we must count the cost, we must be aware that there is a cost, we cannot go into discipleship without a clear understanding of the price that is being asked of us. And that price is plain, there is no deception here. Jesus is asking us… God is asking us for everything. He is not asking for just a little. He is asking for all that we have… all that we are, and you must decide if discipleship is worth it. We must ask ourselves what is the cost? Can we afford to pay it? Can we afford not to?