“Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:27

 

I remember a time from my childhood when I really, really wanted a specific toy. I asked my mom for it and she told me I could get the toy if I used my own money. I quickly emptied out the piggy bank (yep, a literal piggy bank) and spent the money I had on this toy. And it was awesome. For maybe a month. And then it lost its appeal. And suddenly, I was left wishing I hadn’t spent the money I had been saving on something that was only going to bring me such a small amount of satisfaction, on something that wasn’t actually worth the cost. And while this is a rather insignificant memory, I did learn to start asking an important question before emptying out the piggy bank: Is this worth the cost? 

 

As I read Jesus’ words in Luke 14, I couldn’t help but think of this memory of when I first learned to count the cost of something. Because, ultimately, I think the disciples were forced to answer this question for themselves: Is following Jesus worth the cost? 

 

What was the cost? To be willing to “carry his own cross and follow [Jesus].” The cross was a reference to crucifixion, a gruesome method of torture that ended in an intensely painful death. Additionally, it was also common practice for these criminals to have to carry their own cross to the place of their crucifixion.

 

Now, imagine Jesus telling these disciples that in order to be one of His disciples, they each must be willing to carry their own cross and follow Him. What images do you think ran through their heads? Images of themselves as criminals carrying their method of execution to their own death. Images of surrender, sacrifice, pain, and even death. What a shocking image this must have been for His disciples. In that moment, each was forced to ask themselves: Is following Jesus worth it, no matter the cost?

 

As Christians today, we must ask ourselves this same question: Is following Jesus worth the cost? Maybe your cost is abstaining from certain things because of your commitment to a life of faithfulness. Maybe it is missing out on opportunities because you profess Christ as Lord. Maybe you’re experiencing unjust persecution. Maybe the cost is truly risking your life for the sake of the gospel. Whatever it might be, there is always a cost in following Jesus. And that cost is often great. 

 

So, is it worth it? Will the reward outweigh the cost? The answer is undoubtedly, yes.

 

“For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18

 

As we read in Luke 13, the Father has invited us to a great feast, a feast of joyful fellowship and rest and abundance. A feast that far outweighs the present sacrifice and suffering that we may be enduring. A feast that is waiting for those who will follow Him. Yes, the cost of following Jesus is great. But, the reward is greater.

 

Some days or seasons or years, the cost may seem too high. The sacrifice or suffering may feel like too much. In those days, lay that at His feet. Confess this to the Father who cares so deeply for you. Ask Him for increased faith, perseverance, and hope. He will be faithful, even in times we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). He is caring and compassionate enough to meet us in our doubts and reassure us that while the cost is great, the reward is greater. 

 

Lastly, know that Jesus Himself was willing to pay the very price He was asking of the disciples. The cost of God’s people being redeemed of sin and reconciled to the Father was Jesus being willing to carry His own cross and surrender His life on that very cross. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He was willing to pay the price, believing that the coming reward would be greater. And the sweetest news of all is that believers in Christ are also heirs with Christ. Meaning that if we suffer with Him, we will take part in this reward with Him, too (Romans 8:17). We will enjoy the Father’s feast with Him. 

 

And, one day, I hope to feast at the Father’s table with each and every one of you. 

 

 

Week 5 Challenge:

Our readings this week focus on what it means to have true faith and what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus. As you come across these passages, record the characteristics of faith and discipleship. Do you display these in your life and walk with God? How are you living out true faith every day? How are you living as a true disciple of Jesus? Are there areas in which you can grow?

 

Week 5 Reading Plan

Week 5 Memory Verse

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cristintippin

cristintippin

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