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An Invitation to Discipleship | If Anyone Comes to Me...
March 13, 2022
25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“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. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or 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? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
During this series in Lent we are looking at what it means to be an apprentice or a disciple of Jesus. Oftentimes the biggest obstacle for people exploring or even considering Christianity is not the radical claims of Jesus, but the lack of Christlikeness in Christians. Looking at the places where Jesus invites us to follow him with the phrase “If anyone…” shows us exactly what it means to follow Jesus and reflect his promises to the world.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Gracious God, you save all who seek refuge in you. Grant that we who know your salvation may walk always in your light, take courage in your faithfulness, and rejoice in your astounding goodness to us. Through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 27:1-6
1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
1. The Radical Requirement
The call to leave father, mother, wife and child not only seems far too extreme but also contradictory to other parts of the Bible where we are called to honor father and mother and serve and love our families. Jesus in this passage is being provocative to make a point about the cost of discipleship.
- How is Jesus helping the disciple reevaluate their priorities with this provocative call to hate father and mother?
- How does prioritizing Jesus and his kingdom allow us to love our families and neighbors, even when they are difficult?
2. The Risk Assessment
In this passage along with several other places in the gospels, Jesus invites his followers to count the cost of following him. In v.28-32, Jesus uses two scenarios where counting the cost is absolutely necessary. In the construction of a tower and entry into war, both the builder and the king must count the cost before beginning their endeavors.
- As Jesus invites us to count the cost of following him, what are some ways following Jesus should cost us?
- Why doesn’t it cost us more to follow Jesus?
- Consider the 12 disciples, what did it cost them to follow Jesus?
- Even as we consider the cost of following Jesus, what does Jesus promise to us as his disciples? In other words, what do we gain?
3. The Redefined Values
Consider the passage where Peter tells Jesus we’ve done exactly what you’ve asked! Matthew 19:27-29:
27Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
- Share some stories and ways that you have found this promise to be true, that when you count the cost of following Jesus you gain so much more.
- How can we as a church community help one another count the cost and follow Jesus in real and tangible ways?
- The hope of the gospel is that Jesus counted the cost in order to gain us. How ought that to stir our hearts as we follow him in love and obedience?
Hear the words of the psalmist from Psalm 121:5-8. “The Lord is your keeper. The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil. God will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” Go with the blessings of God.
View Study Guide Notes
Question 1: The provocative call to hate our families is a call from Jesus to reprioritize everything in our lives including our nearest and dearest relationships, and count the cost of following Jesus. In the end bearing our own cross and following Jesus is the way to truly love our families and those closest to us, but first we must be captivated by the beauty and truth of Jesus and his call on our lives.
Question 2: Jesus never hides the fact that following him will be costly. Oftentimes, we try to mitigate the costs whether financial, social, or otherwise. In the 12 disciples we see the fact that following Jesus cost them their identity as fisherman, their livelihood, their families, and their comfort and security. But they gained so much more! Following Jesus ought to reshape and redefine all of our relationships and priorities.
Question 3: N/A