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The Cost of Following Jesus

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Great things come with high cost. Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a treasure so valuable it’s worth selling all to possess (Matthew 13:44). In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus engages people who want the benefits of following up without paying the price to follow.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Rather than over-emphasizing benefits and under-emphasizing the costs, Jesus’ approach is the opposite. Thought the benefits are without compare, the cost is extreme: everything. In short, the cost is total commitment. Jesus doesn’t want people who are continually looking over their shoulder, people thinking ‘I know I should be following Jesus, but the world I’ve left LOOKS SO GOOD!’.

This reminds us of the story of Lot’s wife who, upon being pulled from God’s judgment against Sodom in the nick of time, and instructed not to look back, looks back (Genesis 19:26). This was more than a casual glance; the Hebrew word for looked back means ‘to regard, to consider, to pay attention to’. She was drawn by her old life in the city, and it broke her heart to be leaving that identity. She was physically outside of the city, but her heart was still there.

Jesus said, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Are you looking back? Are you drawn by the spirit of this age to want? Jesus tells us, ‘Remember Lot’s wife’ (Luke 17:32). In the context of eternity; this age has NOTHING to offer. Jesus asks as high price: total commitment. But the reward is so, so worth it.