“You can’t get something for nothing” skeptic people say. “Nothing is entirely free in this world, so watch out”, advised my parents. Yes, there is always a cost of some sort to obtain what others say is free.
Jesus teaches what is free while honing in on what it means to be a follower with specific examples. People who say “I’ll go anywhere and do anything” seems like a boast when you don’t realize there is a cost. At first reading, we might think Jesus’ words to the man who needs to bury his father a bit harsh, but what Jesus is trying to get the follower to understand is that God comes first, above all earthly tasks that pull and distract on our full attention from Him, His Plan and Purpose.
The Cost of Following Jesus
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
WHAT IS FREE…
Salvation from our sin was freely given, debt paid in full by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Wisdom is freely given by God when we ask for it. Godly character is freely developed, day by day, by the Holy Spirit when we allow it. God freely provides for all our needs. Jesus freely protects us from the evil one who tries to stop His work from being accomplished in and through us. God goes before us, stands beside us, helping us through all the storms of life. Having the mind of Jesus keeps us in perfect peace through the difficult times on our journey. All free.
What Jesus is trying to get all believers then and now to understand is that the Truth we have received freely, we are to freely give to others, at all costs to our own agendas. At all costs, be like Jesus. Do what Jesus did as His Holy Spirit directs us. Help people find and follow Jesus, the One who was freely given by God for our sins.
Later Jesus will send twelve disciples out into the community with these specific instructions,
“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:7-8, NIV
The disciples were representatives of Jesus, doing all under His authority, in Jesus Name, for His glory. The cost of following Jesus is giving to others what He has given to you as a top priority in our lives as believers and followers of our Lord. This is what is means to accept Jesus as Savior and follow Him as LORD over all and in all the details of our lives, so that others will know Him, too.
Yes, we are representations of Jesus. The cost is loving like Jesus loved us so that others will know Him, too.
“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!”
“Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.”
“God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-20, The Message
The Twelve original disciples heard, “Follow me” as Jesus began His ministry. They immediately, without thought to their careers as fishermen, tax collectors and other trades, followed Him. Now that Jesus is becoming popular, others who are tagging along with the crowd, want to be part of the miraculous action. But Jesus knows their hearts and brilliantly explains the cost.
Can you give up everything to follow Me is what Jesus is asking those who want to be included in band of dusty feet. Jesus knows hearts. He knows who are merely “groupies” versus those who will make the cut, lay down earthy distractions and follow him at all costs.
Are we ready to give up all to follow Jesus today?
What are we losing?
What are we gaining?
Dear Father, Savior and Lord,
I believe. I believe that what I believe is really real. I want you want, Lord. I am listening for Your Voice above all other voices. What is your plan for me today? Your servant is listening….
In Jesus Name, Amen
And the chorus plays in the background of my mind…
God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name.
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share his love as he told me to.
He said ‘Freely, freely you have received;, freely, freely give.
Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live…
(Source: Maranatha Music; Songwriter: Carol Owens)