GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus
Jesus interrupts his pattern of miracles that demonstrate his authority to provide direction for disciples (who having been cautioned about asking and it will be given) as to the narrow way and narrow gate which builds their spiritual house on a good foundation (‘hears these words of mind and puts them into practice’).
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:18-22.1. Two Basic Themes in the Bible – Salvation and Discipleship. Salvation speaks to the time and place of redemption when a person sees their sin and separation from God and reaches out in faith and believes in and receives Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross for him or her. Discipleship is the “where we go from redemption” – the description, direction and cost of following Jesus. The first brings the promise of eternal life, and the second the life lived now in gratitude and obedience to Him who saved us. The Sermon the Mount has been speaking to this second theme – and now Jesus defines the cost of discipleship.
2. The Cost of Discipleship. To the Scribe who says “I will follow you wherever you go” (a remarkable statement from a person in authority, one who was known as a teacher of the Law), Jesus responds: Unlike the animal kingdom, you will have no home nor rest or safe place. Following up, when another says, but what about my family commitments (‘go and bury my Father’), Jesus replies: Following Jesus means forsaking the normal demands and rituals of life and family (but remember Jesus has just cared for Peter’s need by healing his mother in law, so this instruction is in context).
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German follower of Jesus and theologian, discouraged with the apathy of the German church, came to America, enrolled in seminary, and still did not find a devotion to Jesus until he came upon a church in New York devoted to the message of the New Testament. With that encouragement, he continued in a life of devotion and writing about the cost of discipleship, ending in martyrdom as he opposes the evils of Hitler and the Third Reich.
On Life and Death: Discipleship is a classic exposition of what it means to follow Christ in a modern world beset by a dangerous and criminal government. Every call of Jesus is a call to death.
On a Life of Faith. “When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”
On the Cost of Following Jesus: “Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
Nothing less is the true measure of the full cost of following Jesus. We can’t water it down. It is both the privilege and passion of following Him who gave His life for us. Best this week.
— John Moore