"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple,” [Luke 14:28-33]
"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,”
[2 Corinthians 5:16-21]
God loved us, even when we were still sinners. Even when we were far from Him, He still loved us and wanted us to draw near to Him, even though we were lost because of our sins. He sent His one and only Son into the world to bring us back. Isn’t it amazing that God knew that we could never forge a peace treaty with Him, so He did it for us by representing both sides? There was nothing that we could do to appease God’s sense of righteousness so that we could even “come to the table” to negotiate peace, so God came into the world as a man to represent our side. What a mighty God He is, who loves us so much! Before we accepted Jesus as Savior, we were all enemies of God, though we may not have even realized this. But God made peace with us first –and settled everything at the cross. Now, it’s completely up to us what we will do with this fact. Will we reject the greatest gift ever offered to us? Or will we accept the fact that God will purchase us with the blood of His Son? And then, will we accept the terms of becoming a disciple of Jesus?
Jesus made it clear that being His disciple would not be easy. He actually said that if we don’t give up everything we have, we can’t be His disciple. Do you think Jesus really meant everything? What if I don’t want to give up everything? Can I be a disciple and give some but not all? To give up everything, after all, is a lot to ask. Or is it? We should stop and think about what God gave for us –everything. Think about it: God sent His one and only Son. Somehow, the Son and the Father are One. Our God gave up heaven, humbled Himself, became a man, submitted Himself to ridicule, mockery, vicious beating and even death. He gave up everything first. This is why Jesus can say that unless we give up everything, we cannot be His disciple.
A disciple is one who walks in the footsteps of a teacher to learn all that’s possible to learn from this mentor. Jesus is sincere when He says, “Give up everything.” Jesus is a Redeemer, a Peacemaker and an Ambassador. He expects His disciples to walk in His footsteps so that those who are lost may be reconciled to God through our efforts. When Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” He really means it –all the way to the cross. There are no exceptions, there are no “get out of jail free” cards –He meant everything. And many today say that it’s easy to become a Christian. In a sense, it’s easy to become a Christian, but it is not easy to follow Christ. When Jesus told His disciples that it’s nearly impossible for a rich person to inherit the Kingdom of God, His disciples were astonished, believing that the rich actually had the special favor of God. They exclaimed, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" Then Jesus said,
"I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields -- and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first," [Mark 10:26-31]
It’s good to know that God always has us covered. It is by grace we have been saved –and He’s still saving us by grace. But Jesus still expects us to follow Him and give up everything. But He also reminds us that if we give up everything, we gain everything –and even more (100 times more now, in this life!). Only with God could losing become gain. He really is an awesome God. But to be a disciple, we must do what Jesus does. Jesus is a Peacemaker. His ultimate goal was to make peace between the world and God. Now, as His disciples, we are also peacemakers. Our goal is to please God, just as Jesus did. His Father wanted people saved. The most eligible candidates rejected Him, so He turned to the “least likely” candidates, and they came into the Kingdom in droves. So, peacemakers, what shall we do? We will follow in the footsteps of our Great Teacher. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Let’s go after the world. God gave up everything so that we might understand and believe Him when He tells us to give up everything. All for Jesus!
Proclaiming the soon-return of Jesus,