Counting the Cost
The Lord has been laying this on my heart for the last few days.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters–[yes] and even his own life also–he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, Saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish. Or what king, going out to engage in conflict with another king, will not first sit down and consider and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand [men] to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if he cannot [do so], when the other king is still a great way off, he sends an envoy and asks the terms of peace. So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!(Luk 14:26-35)
Let me first provide the definition of the word disciple that I found.
Mathētḗs means more in the NT than a mere pupil or learner. It is an adherent who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct
Remember what Jesus said about the many saying Lord Lord on judgement day.
Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!
Just because you do a miracle, prophesy or cast out a demon doesn’t make you a disciple.
You must obey and be a hearer and doer of the Word.
To be a disciple, your devotion to Jesus must be greater than your devotion yourself or to family so that if it came down to a choice, one would choose to follow Jesus.
To be a disciple you must carry your OWN cross. I do not think that we grasp the significance of that because we are so far removed from Roman times when crucifixions were prevalent. The best picture/definition of carrying the cross was given by A.W.Tozer who says the following when comparing the cross of Jesus’ time and the cross presented today:
The Old Cross and the New
The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.” To the egotist it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.
The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.
The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.
Only disciples are truly free.
So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
Disciples are known for their love for one another.
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
A disciple is not above his teacher.
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master. It is sufficient for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant or slave like his master. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub [master of the dwelling], how much more will they speak evil of those of His household.(Mat 10:24-25)
Jesus was betrayed by one close to Him.
Jesus suffered persecution because of who He was and what He stood for. Suffering is something granted to those counted worthy to be a disciple of Christ.
Then indeed they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be shamed for His name.
For to you it is given on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
A disciple leaves all behind
And after these things He went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax-office. And He said to him, Follow Me. And leaving all, he rose up and followed Him. (Luk 5:27-28)
A disciple serves and is not looking for position
For which is the greater; he who reclines, or he who serves? Is it not he who reclines? But I am among you as He who serves.