The Demands of Discipleship

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Mt. 8:18-22
18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side.
19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20 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.”
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Introduction:
Today we come to understand that being a follower of Jesus will cost you everything! It is no light weight assignment or calling. Just check out his list below and get a better understanding of what the dangers of discipleship really are.

“All of the apostles were insulted by the enemies of their Master. They were called to seal their doctrines with their blood and nobly did they bear the trial.
Matthew suffered martyrdom by being slain with a sword at a distant city of Ethiopia.
Mark expired at Alexandria, after being cruelly dragged through the streets of that city.
Luke was hanged upon an olive tree in the classic land of Greece.
John was put in a caldron of boiling oil, but escaped death in a miraculous manner, and was afterward banished to Patmos.
Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downward.
James, the Greater, was beheaded at Jerusalem,
James, the Less, was thrown from a lofty pinnacle of the temple, and then beaten to death with a fuller’s club.
Bartholomew was flayed alive.
Andrew was bound to a cross, whence he preached to his persecutors until he died.
Thomas was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel in the East Indies.
Jude was shot to death with arrows.
Matthias was first stoned and then beheaded.
Barnabas of the Gentiles was stoned to death at Salonica.
Paul, after various tortures and persecutions, was at length beheaded at Rome by the Emperor Nero.
Such was the fate of the apostles, according to traditional statements.” If you want to follow Jesus, this what his followers look like and are called to go through!

I. The Masters Answer
18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side.
19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”

Note:
When we come to this portion of the text we see the following things begin to emerge.
Jesus commands the Twelve, to get boats ready to cross to the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Before he can leave, two other people express their desire to follow Jesus across the lake.
The first man stands out because he is called a scribe (“teacher of the law”). So far in Matthew scribes, like Pharisees, have been only trouble for Jesus. They ask questions to cause controversy and not unity.
In the text today the man addresses Jesus as “teacher” (didaskale), a title given to Christ in Matthew only by those who do not fully believe in him (cf. 12:38; 19:16; 22:16, 24, 36). The title is accurate but not adequate.
Note:
What we see here is that the scribe professes absolute allegiance, but Jesus realizes that the man doesn’t know what a real commitment would actually involve.

So Jesus describes his ministry as something very serious and only those who are serious should take up his call! He says that discipleship is a call to live without security… “Foxes have holes, birds have nest, but the Son of Man (Jesus) has nowhere to lay his head. (And he is not looking for one either)
Note:
Jesus had a home in Capernaum even if it was a borrowed one, but he was often not there to use it.

Application

• What a glaring fact about the ministry!
• The king of glory didn’t have a mansion.
• The king of glory didn’t have a car.
• The king of glory didn’t have a spouse.
• The king of glory didn’t have an income.
• The king of glory didn’t have a big congregation.
• The king of glory didn’t have a credit card
• The king of glory was broke and unemployed.

Note:

When he tells the scribe this, the scribe must decide if this is the type of life style that he wants. He must decide if he can give up status, position, shelter, security and power, privilege, income and follow the one who has nothing and nowhere to lay his head!

Question:

What about you today? Can you and will you follow the Christ who does not guarantee you home security, a job, good health, financial security, special relationships etc?

II. The Masters Assignment

21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Observation

When we come to this portion of the text we see the following answer to a wanna-be disciple.
He is a disciple who wants to honor his parents, and put them before following Christ.
According to this text, he looks honorable, trust worthy and like a good son.
Underneath his statement is another issue. He is stalling from truly giving God his all.
His parent is not dead yet. Often times in those days an inheritance came with burying a parent.
He was waiting on his money to come in before he could follow Jesus. He just heard him say that he would not have any place to lay his head.
This disciple was planning on having a nest egg for the ministry. He didn’t really fully trust Jesus plan for provision.
Note:
Look again at the Masters plan for security. Jesus Plan: No house, no security, no income!
This plan was not appealing to followers.
So this disciple wants to appear to be interested, and appear to be committed to the movement, but at the same time not willing to commit!
He was serious, but not committed! He was waiting for the father to die before he could do ministry.
Observation
• At a deeper level Jesus’ disciples must recognize that no location on earth affords a true home, or true comforts because earth is not our home.
• Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20), and life on earth is lived as “strangers [sojourners, exiles] in the world” (1 Pet 1:1).

Pastor Bloomberg says “Jesus cannot promise those who wish to “go on the road” with him any material provisions!

“Potential disciples often long for the glory associated with following Jesus and forget the deprivation that may often precede it”.

Textual Observation

31 Jesus warned the man that following him would not be easy and might involve a life of deprivation and poverty.
• Jesus had recently taught that his Father would care for people better than he did for the birds and the flowers (6:25–34).
• Now he taught that those who follow him will have even less than the animals—no place to call home.

• While food and clothing are physical necessities for human survival, an established home is not.

• However, part of human emotional make-up is a strong drive for the security of a home.

Application:

The believer and follower of Jesus must know that the earthly rewards for following Jesus are few and far between.

There are no earthly promises given to people who follow the Lord, there is no promise to make you rich, comfortable, or exempt from trials and tribulations of life.

Illustrations that Matter:
If God Could
If God can hang the stars on high,
Can paint the clouds that drift on by;
Can send the sun across the sky,
What could He do through you?
If He can send a storm through space,
And dot with trees the mountain’s face;
If He, the sparrow’s way can trace,
What could He do through you?
If God can do such little things
As count our hairs, or birds that sing,
Control the universe that swings,
What could He do through you?
—G. E. Wagoner
God Can Do It
Longfellow could take a worthless sheet of paper, write a poem on it, and make it worth $6,000—that’s genius.
Rockefeller could sign his name to a piece of paper and make it worth a million dollars—that’s capital.
Uncle Sam can take gold, stamp an eagle on it, and make it worth $20.00—that’s money.
A mechanic can take material that is worth only $5.00 and make it worth $50.00—that’s skill.
An artist can take a fifty-cent piece of canvas, paint a picture on it, and make it worth $1,000—that’s art.
God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it in the blood of Christ, put His Spirit in it, and make it a blessing to humanity—that’s salvation.
—Christian Digest

Questions:

1. What big take away do I have from this lesson?
2. What must I do to keep my life in order as a disciples Jesus Christ?
3. How can I become a disciple that focus on what Jesus focuses on?

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