Friday, August 15, 2008

Matthew 8:18-22 "Count the Cost"

Read Matthew 8:18-22.

"'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.'" NIV
I've talked before about the cost of following Jesus -- salvation is free, living the Christian life will cost you everything. Jesus stresses that point here in this passage. Now does He mean we literally must leave our families and sleep on the ground? Or that we can never bury our dead family members? No, He doesn't. First of all, He did mean at the time that the commitment to follow Him would mean not having a home. And for the Jews, family had a high responsibility to bury their dead. But Jesus knew He had a short time for His ministry and that it would be very mobile. So that was a fact of His ministry at the time.

So what does that mean for us? We still have to make sacrifices to follow Him. We may need to make material sacrifices, relationships, or face persecution. We all must sacrifice our selfish desires to follow His will. But why should we do this? Why should I lay down all my own plans and desires to follow the Rabbi? Why did the disciples? Because they saw that Jesus truly was the Son of Man.

The "Son of Man" is used in the gospels 81 times and is only used as a title for Jesus. Daniel, in Daniel 7:13, first prophesies that the son of man would come from heaven. Jesus' rule would not be temporary as the rulers of the day, but would be for eternity after He returns on the clouds. Revelation 1:7 repeats the same prophesy. Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth, born to a woman, and became the Son of Man to serve and to save. He truly was the fulfillment of the prophesy. The Jews were looking for royalty, but Jesus instead came in humility. By referring to Himself with this title, He emphasizes that the Messiah did not come in the way the Jews expected, but rather, was standing there in human flesh, living under humble circumstances.

How often do we look for Christ in the big circumstances and miss Him in the simpleness of life? We expect Him to show up for a Billy Graham crusade, but He is doing just as much work through the 80-year-old woman faithfully praying each morning. Both require a sacrifice. Are we willing to follow the Master in whatever He asks? The Divine humbled Himself to the point of equality with His creation. Can we not humble ourselves to serve His purposes? We must decide. When Christ came to earth, He knew the price He would pay -- in humility, punishment, and death. Yet He still came. We must look at the price of following Him very closely and make a decision - do I give my whole self or don't I. In the Christian walk there is great joy and a huge reward at the end. But on this earth, there will be difficult challenges and choices we will face. What will I do with that? Christ gave His all; He expects me to do nothing less.

Further Thoughts:
  1. So many people want to ride the Christian fence. What does Scripture say about that? See Revelation 3:15-16 and Philippians 2:1-8 for starters. Search for other Scripture to support full commitment.
  2. What happens to those who call themselves Christians and do not walk according to His ways or under His authority? Support with Scripture.
  3. What attitude have you been taking with Christ? When He says go, do you go? Why or why not? What holds you back from full devotion? What areas of your life are you keeping back from His control? Why?
  4. Read this old hymn, "I Surrender All" as a prayer of full commitment to the Father.

1 comment:

  1. It's so true, we forget that God is in the simple things. I smile, or a word of encouragement, or asking someone "How are you really doing?" and waiting for the answer. I struggle with being so busy that I don't take the time to do reach out and offer those simple things to the people around me. This is a good reminder that I need over the next few weeks.