Thursday is for Discipleship
Time is drawing near. The fullness of time is pregnant (Galatians 4:4). It won’t be long now. The disciples sense a turn in the face of Christ.
The cost of discipleship must be measured again. Those who follow must be ever reminded that it is not to a life of ease to which we are called. Jesus knows what must be done.
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 plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)
They knew what that look on his face meant. His words begin to sink in.
He’s headed back to Jerusalem. On the last visit, the Pharisees tried to kill him. (cf. John 8) He claimed to be God incarnate; he claimed to have existed before Abraham. Going back to Jerusalem means almost certain death. When news of the death of Lazarus reaches him, he announces that Jerusalem is where he is headed because he wants to raise Lazarus from the dead. Thomas voices what all of the disciples are thinking and turns to his fellow disciples and says:
“Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16)
The early disciples knew, that salvation was free but there was still a cost involved with following Christ. But that doesn’t seem very popular in a culture of plenty and the vigorous pursuit of happiness.
We constant reminders that the invitation to follow is an invitation to a life of abundance (John 10:10) and sacrifice. “In the world,” Jesus said, “you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33) And yet, in light of the treasure of salvation and relationship with God, whatever tribulation we have is worth everything to those who are truly his followers (Matthew 13).
We know, that even in the midst of sorrow, our Lord has said, no, he has promised, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)
Easter is coming, but first we have to pass through the horror and sorrow of Good Friday. Remember: he has overcome the world. Don’t flinch from whatever he calls you to do. Pray as Jesus did in the garden, “Not my will, but your will be done.” Whether we are called to die or live for Christ, that has to be our prayer.