“Then a scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head’” (Matthew 8:19–20).
There is no record that the eager scribe ever counted the cost of discipleship. When considering various costs such as self-denial, homelessness, and maybe suffering, the man disappears. No doubt Christ’s words struck where he was most vulnerable, and he could not overcome loyalty to himself and his comfort.
Jesus never watered down the gospel message as many evangelistic appeals do today. That only compromises God’s Word and does a severe disservice to those who hear such a message. The Lord, by contrast, did not mince words with the apostles: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt. 10:16). And He continued that tone at the end of His ministry: “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God” (John 16:1–2). Neither did Paul waver from stern words of reminder that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).
Knowing and following Jesus Christ includes thrills and joys unlike any others, but they are not the kind the world can understand or appreciate (cf. John 14:27). Living the Christian life is not simply adding Jesus on to your own lifestyle, but it entails the renouncing of your ways for His and being ready to pay the price He may require (cf. Matt. 16:24).
What have been some of the major costs of discipleship in your own life? How have you responded to them? Have they ultimately drawn you closer to Christ, or have you often allowed them to drive a wedge between you and the Lord?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008.