Daily Devotion - January 13, 2020 - The Cost of Following - Part 2

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – January 13, 2021
Reading:
Luke 9:23-27, 57-62
Weekly Theme: Come Follow Me
Today: The Cost of Following Jesus – Part 2

Yesterday’s devotion was about the first four disciples called by Jesus to follow him, as recorded in Matthew 4:17-22. Their responses seemed immediate and involved leaving their professions, possessions and family and literally and physically following Jesus during his ministry on earth. Today we turn to Luke 9 in which Jesus spells out the magnitude of sacrifice involved in being a disciple, particularly during this time when Jesus was a revolutionary figure amidst the Jewish community and was turning their world upside down. Jesus was already being challenged by the legalistic nature of the Pharisees and Sadducees as they cringed at his healing on the Sabbath and mingling with sinners. Jesus wanted the disciples to realize that following him would come at great cost (Luke 9:23-27, 57-62), possibly even loss of life. In God’s economy to lose one’s life or one’s livelihood or one’s friends for the sake of Christ, is to gain life and more importantly to gain Christ. Jesus also says if you are ashamed of me now, then there will be a day when I will be ashamed of you before the Father.

In verses 57-62, Jesus goes on to answer questions that potential disciples have about how far one goes in following Jesus. One individual says that he will follow Jesus wherever Jesus goes;but Jesus informs him that he has “no place to lay his head”, as a way to let him know that he was going to be constantly moving from one place to other to carry out ministry. We are not told how the individual responds. Jesus continues to call others one by one, and said, “Follow me” to which someone says, "Let me go bury my Father." Jesus reminds him that the work of spreading the news of Jesus to others is more important than burying the dead. This may seem extreme but was and is the reality of ministry at times. Finally, Jesus calls another to follow him, who says (in essence), “hang on an hour, Jesus; I need to go say bye to my family” to which Jesus says, “anyone who looks back is not fit for the kingdom”.

All of this seems from a human perspective to be extremely harsh and unfair, but Jesus knew that his physical time on earth would be short and there was much work to do. He then called those who were able and willing to deal with the extreme sacrifices they would need to begin this great task to turn the world upside down and initate what is now called Christianity. The initial followers of Christ were called to a difficult task beyond what we can imagine today. However, in the same way, we should look around at what needs to be done right now, this very day, to further the kingdom of God with the same conviction and be willing to make the sacrifices needed to carry out the ministry Jesus himself called us to do, which is to make disciples of all the nations. He initiated a holy spiritual revolution and started the church, the very body of Christ, to continue the Godly task of building the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

What sacrifices are we as Christians today, in 2021, willing to make to further the kingdom of God? Are we willing to give up some of our ideologies that are formed by worldly institutions such as politics, secular education and to be led by the Holy Spirit to share the good news? Are we willing to give in radical ways to those godly causes which comprise the kingdom and thus, generate love, hope, peace, patience, joy, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control? Kingdom-building does involve sacrifice and come at a cost. Are you and I willing to pay the cost of discipleship today?

Dear God, thank you for the sacrifices You made when you sent your Son, Jesus, to live on this earth, to love and lead others and to show us Your kingdom. Thank you for the sacrifice made through his death on the cross.  And praise be to God for conquering death through his resurrection. Please help us to be his followers and to build Your kingdom over which you have given Jesus authority… a kingdom that is full of goodness and all the fruits of the Spirit and to go forth and make the disciples of all nations to transform the world. Amen

 
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