Many years ago, I was a soon-to-be college graduate pitching a grand dream to my father, but I had absolutely no financial ability to achieve it. After listening, he offered a hard piece of advice: “Dreams cost money.” Although sound admonition, it dealt a deft blow to my inexperienced heart. In the years since, that moment has been a strong reminder of how much my dad loves me. As a dreamer himself, Dad knew the reality of what lay beyond; he was simply speaking truth and giving me a more accurate picture of the road ahead.
- Have you ever been in a spot where the cost of something (what was required of you) was far greater than you anticipated?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 9:51-62 (ESV)
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village.
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Reread verse 51, and let the importance of time and place sink in for a minute. What was it time for? How did Jesus lead out?
- The Jews and Samaritans had a history of animosity. Jesus and the disciples would have passed through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem. What reception did the Samaritans give Jesus and for what reason (vss. 52-53)? In turn, what did James and John’s response reveal about the disciples’ hearts (vs. 54)?
- What did Jesus’ rebuke communicate about his heart toward those who rejected him (vss. 52-55)?
- According to Jesus’ descriptions in verses 58-62, what would following him look like? Make a list of these things. Would you have followed Jesus knowing this?
- Truly examine the priorities of your heart: Is there anything you are giving more importance to than following Jesus and proclaiming the good news? What is holding you back?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus showed all who sought to follow him what it meant to have your face set in a direction. He laid out the cost of discipleship firmly and plainly. I am more important than cultural prejudices, pride, your need for comfort, rituals, and whatever you hold close to heart. You either choose me as your first priority, or you don’t. These are hard words, indeed. But as for presenting a realistic picture of what it means to follow, it’s as straightforward as the God who loves us could give it.
- Ask God to show you what the cost of discipleship means for you today.
- Pray for the strength and bravery needed to follow where he leads.