And they [a large crowd that had just witnessed Jesus cast out a demon] were all amazed at the greatness of God.  But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, “… the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”  (Luke 9:43-44)

Have you ever noticed that it is just as easy to jump off a “bandwagon” as it is to jump on one?  No matter how exciting the movement or how large the crowd, enthusiasm often gives way to desertion as the novelty of the latest trend wears off and the reality of its cost sinks in.

This was true about the crowds that followed Jesus.  As long as He provided them with a free meal plan and health care program, they flocked around Him with enthusiasm.  But when He began to speak to them about the demands of discipleship, those same people stopped “marveling at all He was doing,” and their numbers began to thin … considerably.

Simply put, to follow Jesus is to obey Jesus.  That is what a disciple is:  one who does what his Master commands him.  He is resolved to abandon his own self-interests to fulfill the will of God.  And though the life of a Christ-follower is a blessed journey, it is not downhill.

If anyone wishes to come after Me (Jesus), he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.  (Luke 9:23-24)

In Luke 9 we find Jesus walking toward the Cross that awaited Him in Jerusalem.  Along the way, He was approached by three individuals who said they wanted to follow Him.  Jesus gave it to them straight:  “Before you decide to follow Me, you need to know what you’re getting into.  You need to ‘count the cost.’  Because what I am calling you to do is to come and die with Me.”

You and I would do well to carefully consider what He meant.

The Realities of Discipleship – Part I

(1) “Hardships are to be expected.”

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”  And 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.” (Luke 9:57-58)

We should let that sink in for a minute.  “Even animals have homes.  But I don’t.  And if you follow Me, do not expect a lifestyle of ease.”

There is something very radical within the soul of a disciple.  While others are grabbing for all the goods and comforts of life, an entirely different craving has grabbed hold of the Christ-follower.  His all-consuming passion is to obey the will of his Master … a pull that has so captured his heart that his former desire to have all this world has to offer has faded, even down to its bare necessities.  This is more than a mere willingness to sacrifice.  It is a heart-guided resolve to de-clutter one’s life in order to be fully given to the cause of Christ Jesus.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:19-21)

This is the reality of discipleship:

One cannot follow Jesus and pursue a life of self-centered ease at the same time.

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