What Price to be Disciples of Christ?
aymon de albatrus
26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)
Definition of Disciple?
One that follows the teaching of another superior to him, to learn and to put into practice his teaching, one that imitates his master. In the case of a believer:
1. Imitator of Christ,
2. Conforms to the imagine of Christ, 2Co 3:18,
3. Becoming like the Master,
4. Be like Jesus, in character, scope and power, Eph 4:13.
A disciple of Christ can be defined as one that believes in His doctrine, remains in His sacrifice, absorbs, assimilates, drinks and is saturated in His Spirit, imitates His example and lives in obedience to perform His works. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:14)
The true disciple is one that permeates himself in the Master and becomes a copy of the Master.
How does one become a Disciple?
It is the Master that chooses His disciples, so that they cannot say to the Master "I have chosen you" rather the Master says: You have not chosen Me, but I chose you out and planted you, that you should go and should bear fruit, and your fruit remain, that whatever you should ask the Father in My name, He may give you. (John 15:16) This is because the Master is always superior to the disciples as Jesus attests: A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above his lord. (Matthew 10:24)
We see that around Jesus there were many "disciples" that followed Him, but as soon as things became difficult for their mentality, they promptly left Him. Jesus gives the reason for this: 65 And He said, Because of this, I have told you that no one is able to come to Me except it is given to him from My Father. 66 From this time many of His disciples went away into the things behind, and no longer walked with Him. (John 6:65-66) Have you met people that behave just like that? Initially they demonstrate high fervour, but soon they dry up for their "soil" is not deep enough.
Let us fervently pray the Lord that this will not be our case.
This multitude looked like disciples, but only in appearance. They followed Jesus and appeared like true disciples as far as receiving (food, blessings, and sermons) but when Jesus started to speak of commitment, dedication and believe with conviction in His teaching, they began to vacillate and eventually left Him.
These were not true disciples, and Jesus gives the reason for it "no one is able to come to Me except it is given to him from My Father." Thus NO One can be a disciple of Christ if it is not given to him by the Father, as Jesus said earlier: No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. (John 6:44) The word, here traduced "draws" in the Greek is: to drag off, to pull, to impel, to compel with irresistible force. This is the Greek meaning, let anyone interpret it as he wills.
Someone in a sermon posed this question: "why am I a Christian?" with special references to the difficulties in living a Christian life. This preacher did not answer his question, but the answer is in the verses we just read. It is God that makes Christians, and it is impossible to live the Christian life without the support of God: who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God. (John 1:13)
It is God that makes disciples of Christ and because of this we are absolutely certain that what He has began, He will also brig to perfect conclusion: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
We see the answer of the true disciples when Jesus asked them: Therefore, Jesus said to the Twelve, Do you also wish to go? They answered: Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. And we have believed and have known that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to them: Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! (John 6:67-70)
The calling of the twelve, the Apostles
To note that when Jesus called, the Apostles dropped what they were doing and IMMEDIATELY followed Jesus, here some examples:
18 ∂ And walking beside the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. 19 And He says to them, Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And leaving the nets, they immediately followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-20)
21 And going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. And He called them. 22 And at once leaving the boat and their father, they followed Him. (Matthew 4:21-22)
And on the morrow, Jesus desired to go out into Galilee. And He found Philip, and says to him, Follow me! (John 1:43)
27 ∂ And after these things, He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, Follow Me! 28 And leaving all, rising up he followed Him. (Luke 5:27-28)
ANDREWS Fisherman - he had 33 years when called, one year older than Jesus. He was the brother of Peter, with 3 sisters, at that time not married, the eldest of the Apostles.
PETER Fisherman - when called he was 30, married with 3 children.
JAMES Zebedee - Fisherman, when called he was 30, married with 4 children.
JOHN Zebedee - (the loved of the Lord) Fisherman, when called he was 24 and the youngest of the Apostles, not married.
PHILIP - Employed in the commerce of fish, when called he was 27 and just married.
NATHANIEL Merchant - when called 25 and not married.
MATTHEW Tax collector - when called 31, married with 4 children.
THOMAS Carpenter and then fisherman - he was 29 when called, married with 4 children.
JAMES e JUDAS Alfeus Fishermen - twins, married with 3 and 2 children, respectively.
SIMON Merchant - he was 28 when called, not married.
JUDAS Iscariot - Working in the fish industry, he was 30 when called and not married. He was the most scholastically educated of the lot.
Jesus answered them, did I not choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! (John 6:70)
What were the disciples doing with their time?
No doubt they were working to feed their families, but also employed in spreading the gospel (n time, not initially): some towards India, others to Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Spain, departing from Jerusalem. Some had the comfort of the family, but for short periods. As the children grew up, the wives accompanied their husbands. The more active of the Apostle was Paul, but he also felt the need of a family. Have we not authority to lead about a sister, a wife, as the rest of the apostles also, and Cephas, and the Lordís brothers do? (1 Corinthians 9:5)
Even the other Apostles lamented their needs with Jesus before their full conversion by the Holy Ghost: And Peter began to say to Him, Behold, we left all and followed You. (Mark 10:28) But Jesus replied: 29 Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospelís sake, 30 but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)
Which are the rights of the disciple?
None, for there are no "democratic" rights in the discipleship.
Disciples of Christ have no social unions, nor democracy exists in the Kingdom of God. Any one that thinks to go to Heaven and say his bit, is grossly mistaken and surely will not go there for in the Kingdom there is total Sovereignty of God. There are no committee in the Kingdom of God, He commands and all obey most willingly.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
Let us analyse this verse
"If any man would come after me", it is normal for the disciple to follow the master, the disciple goes were the Master leads without discussions, controversies or arguing. If one cannot follow the Master with humility and submission, without conditions, one cannot be His disciple. 59 And He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, allow me to go first to bury my father. 60 But Jesus said to him, Leave the dead to bury their dead, but going out, you announce the kingdom of God. 61 And also another said, I will follow You, Lord, but first allow me to take leave of those in my house. 62 But Jesus said to him, No one putting his hand on the plow, and looking at the things behind, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:59-62)
"let him deny himself", this is what distinguishes the real disciple of Christ.
The true disciple must deny all that is in him: sinful nature, irreligiousness, lasciviousness and the sensuality of the world, desire to be the first, even the pleasures and profits of the world if they are in competition with Christ. It is best for those who like sport to get rid of this fancy for there is no sport in the Kingdom of God because that is competition, which is evil, for God provides fully for everyone's needs. The true disciple repudiates his desires and expects none other than blame, persecution and death in this world for the love of his Master and Saviour.
Jesus, in his sacerdotal prayer warns us: I have given them Your Word, and the world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. (John 17:14) If the world loves you then you are not His. The disciples of Christ do not have love for the world nor for the things in it, for they know: Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, (1 John 2:15) If one says that he is a disciple of Christ but is strongly attracted to the world and to the things in it, surely he is not a follower of Christ, at all.
"and take up his cross" Every Christian has his own cross and afflictions, of pain and shame, to which he has to submit and to carry it with resignation to the will of God, imitating his Lord. Every one has a different cross to carry, we see Paul how much he has suffered for the Lord, his cross was heavier than that of many others 2Co 11:23-28. Billy Graham, the greatest modern evangelist with open meetings of over a million people, one day he was visiting some church in the East and after the meeting he was accompanied to the car by an orthodox priest. As soon as he was out a horde of journalists assaulted him. Eventually making it to the car, inside the priest said: "I know that every Christian has a cross to carry and I was wondering which one was yours, judging by the good life you lead, and I was unable to spot it, now I know". Every cross is different.
"and follow me", The disciple follows the Master, not by his side, not ahead but behind in humility and patience, ready to perform every command of His, going through every sufferance and death to advance the Kingdom and the Glory of the Master.
How the Apostles ended up?
ANDREW - Crucified in Patras Greece. He remained on the cross two days before dying, The cross was in the form of X, St Andrews' cross.
PETER - Tradition says that he was crucified in Rome under Nero in 66 on an upside down cross. His wife was fed to wild beasts.
JAMES - Zebedee James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44. He was the first of the Apostles to suffer martyrdom.
JOHN - Zebedee Natural death at 102. Was thrown into boiling oil in Rome but survived, exiled to Patmos. Considered a martyr, anyway.
PHILIP - Crucified in 54. His wife waited for his death on her knees under his cross.
NATHANIEL - Bartholomew According to tradition skinned alive to death in Albanapolis, Armenia.
MATTHEWS - Martyred with a halberd (battle-ax and pike mounted on a handle about six feet long) in 60 at Heliopolis or in Ethiopia
THOMAS - Martyred killed by an arrow (or lance) whilst in prayer in India.
JAMES - Alfeus Crucified in Egypt, or thrown on the rocks from a pinnacle.
JUDAS - Alfeus Martyred in Odessa in 72
SIMON the Zealot - Crucified in Britannia in 74.
JUDAS Iscariot - Suicide
MATTHIAS - (chosen by the Apostles to replace Judas) Stoned in Jerusalem and after beheaded.
PAUL - Beheaded in Rome by Nero in 66.
LUKE - Hanged on an olive tree by Greek priests.
MARC - Dragged to pieces by horses in Alexandria.
Going back to our text:
If anyone comes to Me not only physically, but especially spiritually. Not only to hear Him preach, but because we have received a call and believe in Him for His grace, forgiveness and salvation confessing to be His, submitting to His ordinances and having strong desire to be His disciple.
and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his own life
Jesus here is not saying that we must hate these to be His disciples, (He is talking anthropologically) for the whole Scripture says to care for these, otherwise we be worse than unbelievers (1Ti 5:8) and it is contrary to God's law and to the principle of nature. But that these must not be preferred over Christ, or loved more than Him. What He is saying is that these natural affections, when compared to the love and devotion we must have for Christ Jesus, they must measure up as hate in spiritual terms. One shall really not hate his family, but for the true disciple Christ is all in all and above all.
Indeed, those close to us must be rejected with indignation and resentment if they were on the way of the honour and interests of Christ and were trying to dissuade from His service those who want to be his disciples. Such disciple must be prepared to sever himself from the most dear relations and friendship and from the greatest life's joy when Christ calls, otherwise, He says: he cannot be My disciple.
And He repeats the same elsewhere: He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:37-38)
Well! How much is the cost to be a Disciple of Christ?
Our whole life and all we have, but then that is not ours: For who makes you to differ? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
For whoever desires to save his life, he will lose it. But whoever loses his life for My sake, this one will save it. (Luke 9:24)
God makes Christians, not man, and it is impossible to walk the Christian life without the Lord's support: who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God, (John 1:13)
Christ's disciples firmly believe in His doctrine, stay in His sacrifice, absorb, assimilate and drink deeply from His Spirit, imitate His example and live evermore to do His biddings,
The disciple of Christ Jesus is one that permeates himself in the Master to become a copy of Christ,
The disciple is not superior to the Master and puts into practice only what the Master commands,
The disciples of Christ have no rights, but what the Master grants,
If one is not prepared to sacrifice his life and to give up all that was given to him for the Kingdom of Christ, then he cannot be His disciple,
The Lord does not ask His disciple more than He Himself has suffered, but he gives him comfort, courage and hope. I have spoken these things to you that you may have peace in Me. You have distress in the world; but be encouraged, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Amen & Amen