The Cost of Discipleship

Lawyer and statesman Daniel Webster was a powerful orator who gave early evidence of his quick mind and way with words. One day Webster’s father, who was to be absent from home, left Daniel and his brother Ezekiel specific work instructions. Upon his return, he found the task s … More


Although Jesus knew He would face persecution and death in Jerusalem, He was determined to do there (v. 51). James and John, two gracious and devoted disciples, saw their master was not received. They had seen the Prophet Elijah on the mountain so they thought they could imitate him and call fire down from heaven to destroy the Samaritans (vv. 52-55). Jesus rebuked their vengeful spirit and went to another village (v. 56).

In this next passage we see the test of discipleship (vv.57-62). The first man was a scribe who volunteered to follow Jesus (Matt. 8:19). Jesus then told him of the cost of denying himself. Perhaps he was accustomed to a comfortable home like many today.

To another man Jesus said,"Follow me.” What an honor to be called by Jesus to follow Him. However, the man said “I can’t follow until my father passes away and I bury him.” Jesus is not suggesting that we dishonor our parents but that we not permit our love for our family to weaken our  love for the Lord. Christ must be first, then everything else will follow in its place.

The third man that volunteered could not follow Christ because he was looking back instead of ahead. Notice he said, “Lord I will follow thee; but . . .” That word can stop us from doing what Christ wants to do through us. There is nothing wrong with a loving farewell (I Kings 19:19-21), but if it gets in the way of obeying Jesus, it becomes sin. Jesus saw the man’s heart as He sees ours.


As Jesus looks into my heart today does He see I am following Him, or do I have excuses of things I want to do instead? Matthew 6:33 tells me to seek first the kingdom of God and then all else will be added.

Luke 9:51-62 (English Standard Version)

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 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?" But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 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." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »