The Cost of Being a Disciple

After a distinguished performing career, virtuoso violinist Jascha Heifetz accepted an appointment as professor of music at UCLA. Asked what had prompted his change of career, Heifetz replied: “Violin playing is a perishable art. It must be passed on as a personal skill; o … More



At this point large crowds are following Jesus and He wants to make it clear that they need to examine why they are following Him (v. 25). When it comes to personal discipleship He is more interested in quality than quantity. He is looking for followers who will be willing to follow Him anywhere, at any time, at any price. The cost is defined by three principles:

  1. The principle of surrendering all relations. (v. 26)
  2. The principle of bearing all reproaches. (v. 27)
  3. The principle of yielding all resources. (v. 33)

Jesus then gives three parables to explain why He makes such costly demands on His followers. The first two parables emphasize the consequences of commitment His followers are about to make. His third parable consists of a severe warning if not heeded.

  1. The parable of construction  - building a tower (vv. 28-30). Before a person begins to build, he must be sure he is able to pay for it. Salvation is free but discipleship costs.
  2. The parable of conflict - fighting a war (vv. 31-33). He must be willing to sacrifice a victory if he senses he is unable to win. We must follow on His terms and not ours.
  3. The parable of contamination - salt losing its flavor (vv. 34-35). Salt is good but when exposed to certain chemicals, it loses its saltiness and becomes worthless. When a Christian becomes contaminated with the world and loses his Christian character, he is worthless.



What has it cost me to follow Jesus? Jesus said it would cost something to be one of His disciples.

Luke 14:25-35 (English Standard Version)

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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. "Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »