“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.l 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of themm when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.n 27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9.24-27
Everything costs something. You’ve heard this before that “freedom isn’t free.” Freedom costs lives of those who fought in wars to liberate us from tyranny and persecution. I’m speaking broadly of course, but we have examples especially in World War II that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of men and women. (I was reminded of this on my recent visit to the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.)
German theologian and prisoner of war Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in the “Cost of Discipleship, “Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
The cost of discipleship not only requires the life of the disciple but the life of the leader. In order for us to follow Christ, he had to sacrifice his life for the sins of the world. What a cost for freedom!
In Luke 9, we find Jesus speaking about losing and saving lives. He says, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” Do we see examples of this in our world and not just with the rich? Wealth is relative and persists on all levels. Those in poverty in the USA are wealthy compared to those in the slums in India. Those who are wealthy members of the local country club are nothing compared to Bill Gates and his foundation.
It’s not only fortune that captures us and leads us into temptation but fame, self aggrandizement, lust and so forth. Jesus is asking us to be his disciples by giving up that which binds us. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it,” v. 24.
The million dollar question is “Will you follow Christ?” Will you count the cost of being his disciple? Will you follow the pattern of Philippians 2 in which Jesus modeled true humility for the sake of the world?
”O Lord God, you are good. I thank you and praise you for your power, grace and love. Thank you for the cost of your life so I might have life today, enjoy your creation, and spread your message. Thank you for your redeeming love and your steadfast compassion. I praise you Lord and glorify your holy name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen