Three parables that teach us what it takes to be Jesus' followers
It is so easy to talk about following Jesus. After all, he came as our Savior, voluntarily sacrificed his life and opened up the way to heaven for us. Why wouldn’t you want to align yourself with someone who wipes away your sins and can give you eternity in the process? It’s a no brainer, right? Um, not exactly! Turns out, being a disciple of Jesus is hard work that requires thought, action and results. It is a conscious decision to be different, to driven by a higher calling than you would naturally follow. Following Jesus in a selfie world is akin to being a nerdy kid on a football team. You have plenty to offer but those around you just don’t see your value. Can a Christian thrive in a world that rewards evil? How do we know what to think, do and become to be sure we are truly following Jesus? Now that’s easy! Jesus himself told us…
One of the most amazing things about Jesus calling out individuals to follow him was the fact that he often did things to turn people away. We always think of Jesus as inviting and kind...and he absolutely was! The other side of the issue lies in some of the things he said to large crowds who were attracted to him. In John 6 he said following him required the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood. In Luke 14 he said that to be worthy of being his disciple, you had to hate your family – your parents, siblings, children and spouse. Hardly what we would expect to hear from such a caring, wise and inviting leader who was sent by God to save the world, and yet this is what we have. Why?
It all comes down to discipleship: What it means to be an actual follower of Jesus, how any actual follower is supposed to think and act and the all important expectations of those who would be led. It turns out that Jesus spent a lot of teaching time on this very thing. In Luke 14 immediately after he told everyone to hate their families – now wait – you KNOW that hating your family was not a literal statement, right? RIGHT? Anyway, right after that difficult message, Jesus told three stories. These stories were all illustrations of different aspects of discipleship, beginning with the necessary thought process one should have BEFORE they commit themselves to the cause of Christ.
Check out our April 23, 2018 podcast “What Does Discipleship Cost?” and fill in the gaps. Unfortunately most of us are not taught the relevant inside story of the costs and blessings of walking in Jesus’ footsteps. It makes sense that if you are a Christian or are considering becoming a Christian - or even are a skeptic of Christianity - that you get your arms around what discipleship truly means. Frankly, the only way to do this is to grasp Jesus’ own words on the matter. If you want to know about following, ask the leader!
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