Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
When Jesus called His 12 disciples, He lead and taught with a purpose. The call of a disciple today doesn’t look very different, understanding what that calling entails is important for any who desire to respond to that call. As Jesus called consider what He revealed to them in His plan…
Luke 5:10-11 “and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”
The call of a disciple is not to sit idle, listening to the teacher and constantly absorbing knowledge; the call is to go forth and bring many into the Kingdom of God.
The term disciple, in the most simple sense of the word, refers to any “student,” “pupil,” “apprentice,” or “adherent,” who is a devoted followers of a great religious leader or teacher of philosophy.
What greater teacher could one ask for, than to learn under the Creator of the world?
The 12 disciples had the amazing opportunity to learn under the very One who embodied wisdom. Wisdom called out to them, and they responded.
1 Corinthians 1:20-24 “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Today…wisdom continues to call out for all who would hear the call.
A Call to Disciples
Who is it that Jesus calls?
Is it the wise, the rich, the rulers, or the famous?
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are”
On the contrary, it is not to certain peoples position or social status that God takes notice.
- God delights in finding those the world deems as foolish to shame those who are wise in their own eyes.
- God chose the weak, so the mighty will know that it is not by their strength or power by which they are saved.
- God chose the base, or lowest people; the humble and meek; that those who exalt themselves will know who God truly values.
- Real disciples understand their need for a Savior.
When God chooses people, He sends a statement to the world.
1 Corinthians 1:20 “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
God chooses His people
The debate as to the true nature of predestination is not something I want to put on trial at this time. The reality that God predestines people, or knows and chooses them out of the earth has been made quite clear in scripture.
Romans 8:29-30 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Personally, I’m still in the camp of belief that God knew who would respond to His call; God calls everyone, and also those whom He predestined to be conformed to His Son. For these “predestined”, are those who respond to the call, are justified by faith, and by their faith they will be glorified by their association with the Son.
Jesus knew which disciples would respond to the call and so it was to these that He approached and ordained.
Parable of the Great Supper
When Jesus sat down to eat with His disciples, one of them declared, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Luke 14:15
Luke 14:16-17 “Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’”
Jesus goes onto say that many who had been invited started making excuses as to why they couldn’t come to the feast.
Luke 14:21 “So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’
The servants was then instructed to compel others to come, that the Master’s house might be filled. But to those who were caught up in the cares of life, the busyness of their schedules, the lure of money, their fate will be sealed.
Luke 14:24 “For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.”
Do you know who the servants of the Master are?
We are!—The disciples that heard the call, grew in the knowledge and understanding of the Master, and shared the gospel with those who are lost.
There may be some who read this that are not a disciple of Jesus. They may be pondering the thought of what being a christian entails, or considering the sacrifices that need to be made in order to follow.
Count the Cost
It is wise to count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus—for those who first heard the call, they gave their lives in service until the end.
Luke 14:27-28 “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.”
I’ve learned by sharing the gospel with others, not to be in too big of hurry in leading them in a “sinners prayer”.
When I was young, I used to listen to pastors give altar calls to any who wanted to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Prior to the call, the pastor would ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. He would then ask everyone who wanted to accept Jesus to pray this prayer with him…It went something like this, “Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and need your grace in my life. I humbly accept the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus, who died upon the cross for me. I ask that you forgive me of my sin, and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Thank you Lord for your mercy and love that you have shown me today, lead me in your way everlasting and guide me in faith to trust you.”
I used to try and study what the words of that prayer were in case I ever had the opportunity to lead someone to Christ. Unfortunately, the next time I heard the prayer, it changed, it wasn’t the exact same prayer. I wondered as a kid how some magical words that somehow brought salvation to a lost soul could be changed and reworded each time I heard it.
There has been a false assumption by many that by saying that prayer, it was like opening an ancient door that just waited for the right words. Many who rested alone in that prayer and not in the reality of a humble and contrite spirit, have long since gone back into the world, never to return.
Counting the cost of being a disciple is to regard with caution the importance of such a decision. Following Jesus was not easy for the disciples, they gave up their livelihood, spending time with their families, and most gave up their lives to follow Him in obedience in sharing the gospel. Today, there are many people that have to make these same sacrifices, coming out of many cultures around the world alienates people from the societies that once embraced them. Societies that required allegiance to another faith, belief, or way of life other than following Jesus.
Nabeel Qureshi, who wrote the book “Seeking Allah, finding Jesus”, made a huge gamble in forsaking his families Islamic heritage and making a decision to follow Christ. Today, many like him are choosing the same path, knowing that only Jesus brings life, hope, and peace.
Have you been called to be a disciple of Jesus?
If you have been called and you heard that call, you are members of the Kingdom of God. You are being led by the Spirit of God(wisdom), and your life has changed dramatically for the better. Not according to the world’s standard of better, but in knowing the Son there is a knowledge of life itself.
You will be there at that Great supper of the Lamb, so will I, and many more, including those saints of old. We will rejoice together in glory that Jesus has bestowed upon His people the song of the redeemed and it will carry forth into eternity.