October 3, 2012

RADICAL: Day 2 - A CALL TO DIE



What if Jesus was serious?

It’s a haunting thought isn’t it?  The implications are staggering.  They shake the core of what we think we believe as Christians.  The truth is that people in many parts of the world take Jesus’ words seriously.  People abandon their families and careers.  They have to when they’re threatened with persecution and mistreatment.  They’re living the truth of Luke 9.

  • Read Luke 9:57-62.  Record what Jesus claimed was the cost of following Him. 
  • How do we misunderstand these words of Jesus when we don’t take them literally?

 Three men approached Jesus, eager to follow Him.  It would have been an evangelist’s dream.  All that was left for Jesus to do was to walk through the Roman Road or lead them in a sinner’s prayer.  Right?

But in surprising fashion.  Jesus seems to have tried to talk them out of following Him.  To the first man Jesus said to expect homelessness on the journey ahead because followers of Christ aren’t guaranteed that even their basic need for shelter would be met.  To the second man Jesus said there’s a higher priority than even the closest familial relations.  To the third Jesus said being in a relationship with Him requires total, superior and exclusive devotion.

Become homeless.  Let someone else bury your dad.  Don’t even say good-bye to your family.

  • What do you imagine the response would be if such a sermon were given in a North American church today? 
  • Read Luke 14:25-35.  In one sentence what was Jesus’ core message in this teaching?
Jesus never sugarcoated His message.  He didn’t play it down in order to gain popularity.  He never glossed over it in order to increase His influence.  He alswyas told people the truth.  But even after two thousand years we’re still trying to find loopholes in the cost of following Christ.

That’s the whole point of Luke 14:25-35: to consider what we’re getting into before we do.  Following Jesus isn’t meant to be an add-on to real life, whereby we can do other things and follow Jesus too.  The call to follow Christ is the only thing.  It’s all or nothing.
  • Read Luke 9:23.  Why do you think Jesus chose the image of the cross to describe following Him?
This verse takes counting the cost to another level.  In fact, for Jesus’ original audience the teaching would have been even more scandalous.  We lose some of the impact when we read it today, but for the original hearers the cross wasn’t a bumper sticker or a piece of jewelry.  It was a mark of shame and death.  Crucifixion remains the most brutal form of execution ever devised. 

Jesus was calling His followers to pick up an instrument of torture to follow Him.  If someone was carrying a cross through town, nobody wondered where he or she was going.  There was no hope left for them.  No dreams.  No aspirations.  No hope of escape.  Their fate was sealed.

That’s what Jesus compared the Christian life to.  It’s first and foremost a call to die.
  • What parts of life are you still clinging to? 
  • If you took seriously the call to die, what are some practical ways your life would have to change?
Carrying the cross has a finality to it.  It’s about giving up any claim on your life.  That’s what it really means to call Jesus Lord.  It means  He is your Master and your King.  He has ultimate ownership over you, and that ownership transcends your desires, perceived needs and dreams. 

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?

HAVE YOU REALLY COUNTED THE COST?

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