In Luke 14 Jesus has crowds following Him, he is popular, famous and well known. He is not without enemies or critics, but he would by any measure be considered a successful movement leader. He heals, he saves, he does miraculous works, what’s not to like? Then He turns and lays out the terms for His followers with a warning to think carefully about the cost.
Jesus asks them, asked us, asks me, to forsake all to invest all, to lay down all. I get the mental picture of running and lunging off a cliff – with no ropes attached, no bags packed, no wagon with the kitchen sink packed in, just a free fall with arms stretched wide and heart open.
Material possessions are not all that are required here – selfish ambitions, desires, pride, rights, dreams, fears, hopes, thoughts, pursuits, talents, passions, love, ALL cast down, thrown out, put aside, given up, to follow Jesus.
Who does He think He is to ask such a thing? Surely He requires too much?
Oh, but He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the beginning and the end, the creator, the giver of life and hope and peace. In the book The Knowledge of the Holy, there is a chapter which speaks of God who sees all of eternity past and all of eternity future, that thought blows my mind away.
He doesn’t ask us to do anything that He has not done Himself in even greater measure:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
Even so, may we also lay our lives down, take up our cross and follow Him!