Luke 14 - Count the Cost

Luke 14 – July 16

There are several passages in the book of Luke that are very similar to the other Synoptics, but Luke will choose to add a little more detail. Today we arrive at one such text. Luke 14:25-27 is found in other locations. However, verses 28-33 expound upon this teaching and these illustrations about “counting the cost” are only found here. Let’s break this down by querying the text a bit.

  1. What requirements is Jesus setting forth in order to be His disciple?

Jesus actually makes three parallel statements that are requirements for following Him. These three things are not mutually exclusive. Rather, by understanding how they operate together, we come to a deeper understanding of what Jesus means.

  1. One must “bear his own cross.” (vs. 27)
  2. One must “count the cost.” (vs. 28)
  3. One must “renounce all that he has.” (vs. 33) 
  1. What cost is it that Jesus is suggesting we count?
    1. What the “cost” isn’t.

It is important that we clarify up front that Jesus is not suggesting that you have to purchase your salvation. The price for that is too high for any of us to pay. You cannot buy your way into the grace of God with any currency you could craft or imagine. 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23 both tell us that we were “bought with a price.” Acts 20:28 tells us that we are “ to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

  1. What the “cost” is.

The cost to become a disciple is always high. There are some times and places where the cost is more tangible and physical than others. Persecution and violence are not part of the sign-up bonus most people expect when they first come to Christ. In our society, there is minimal (although growing) social cost to being a follower of Jesus. You might miss out on a few promotions or dinner parties. For most of us, it cost us little by way of tangible things to follow Jesus.

However, there is a deeper cost that is required of each disciple. J.C. Ryle notes that there are four things that it will cost you to follow Jesus.

  • Self-Righteousness
  • His sins (meaning ongoing sinful patterns of life.
  • Love of Ease
  • The favor of the world

J.C. Ryle rightly concludes, “I grant that it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew thinks nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, even amputation, to save his life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven.”

Have you truly counted the cost? Do you know the price of following Jesus? When you see patterns of self-righteousness, or sinful practices, or love of ease, or overvaluing the world’s opinion seeps in, do you take swift action to put those sins to death? Count the cost. You will never be disappointed in the long term.