Title: The Cost of Discipleship
(H) Highlight verse: "And he said to them, 'Why are afraid, O you of little faith?' Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm." Matthew 8:26
(E) Explain: When Jesus came down from the mountain he encounters a centurion with great faith, who asks Jesus to heal his servant. He heals Peter's mother-in-law, he calms the wind and the sea, and he heals two demon possessed men. In all of this we read in verses 18 -22 about the cost of following Jesus. A scribe tells Jesus he will go wherever Jesus goes, and a disciple says he will follow Jesus after he buries his father. In both cases Jesus responds to their statements with a truth, there is a cost to following him. He informs the scribe that if he wants to follow Jesus, he will have to be ok with the fact that there is no comfort in following him. He has no place to call home. He is essentailly a nomad in the nation of Israel. To the disciple he tells him that he must give everything up, including seeing his father's burial (we do not know that his father was actually dead. the implication is that his father was old and ready to die eventually). He had an excuse, but Jesus informs him that if he wants to follow him that now is the time. Basically, Jesus was telling both men, "It's not a glamorous life and it involves sacrifice, so decide today if following me is worth it or not." Other costs Jesus speaks of is the need for living a life of faith, as his disciples were rebuked by him because they were afraid in the boat on the rough seas. He then showed that discipleship will often cause you to make enemies. Jesus heals the two demon possessed men and instead of something positive happening afterwards, the people told him that he and his disciples were not welcome in the city. All in all chapter 8 gives a clear message that there is indeed a cost to discipleship.
(A) Application: Many times when people talk about discipleship they immdiately equate it to a program or a process. Often people think that they can take discipleship courses, learn the ins and outs of discipleship, and then go out and teach the program to others. This is not necessarily what discipleship is. Sure, learning is an integral part of discipleship, but in reality is more about being and doing, rather than learning and practicing.
In todays passage we see that there is a cost involved with discipleship. This cost involves more than merely making a committment to a program. Here are some of the costs of discipeship.
- Discipleship involves faith and trust: Jesus speaks of the faith of the centurion. He says he has never seen someone with such faith. On the other hand we also see that the disciples' trust and faith in Jesus waned in the boat. He rebukes them because they failed to see that he would take care of them and keep them safe.
- Discipleship involves sacrifice: Jesus tells the scribe that he has no place to call home. Following Jesus can be uncomfortable at times and requires us to sacrifice comfort for obedience. The disciple who wanted to bury his father had excuses for not sacrificing for Jesus because he wasn't ready to leave his family to follow Jesus. He informs the disciple that following him involves sacrifice.
- Discipleship can sever relationships and cause persecution: When Jesus heals the two demon possessed men one would think the whole town would come out and praise him, but that was not the case. The people told Jesus he was not welcome in their town.
(R) Respond: Lord, I give everything to you so that I may follow you. Help me to keep in perspective at all times the costs involved in being a disciple of Jesus Christ.