By Brooke Holt
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.’” Luke 14:25-26
In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People (revised in 1981, 2022), a best-selling book for many years. The book is exactly how it sounds—a guide to how you can get people to like you, convert them to your way of thinking, and even change people. Granted, there is much more to the book, but you get the point. Business people have utilized this book for years and reported great success.
Jesus clearly had not read that book. Throughout his earthly ministry, people flocked to Jesus and asked to become one of his disciples. You would expect Jesus to be flattered and welcome any and all potential disciples. Jesus loved to make disciples, teach people about God’s kingdom, and see his followers grow in their understanding of his heavenly Father.
While Jesus loved all those things, he understood following him was not the walk in the park everyone expected. At this point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die on a cross. He knows that, but many of his followers thought they were on the way to see Jesus wearing a golden crown, not the crown of thorns.
Where they saw glory, Jesus saw the cross. Everyone loves glory and is drawn to it. What a difficult concept to think the Son of God would first face humiliation and then glory! Jesus’ teachings on discipleship sound harsh. He meant them to be because Jesus wanted his followers to count the cost of following him. Many of his disciples would be persecuted and even killed. Others would face hunger, rejection, and tumultuous travels to spread the Gospel.
Like Mr. Carnegie, Jesus would offer a simple plan for his kingdom, simple but not easy—die to self, pick up your cross, and follow me. Jesus would have to be first even above parents, spouses, children, and siblings. It is not that he doesn’t want you to love those people; he does, but he is to be your first love and first devotion in life.
Disciples of Jesus are to be all in! Is there anything before him in your life today?
Do these words sound harsh to you? Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? What does following him wholeheartedly look like for you today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
Comments will be approved before showing up.