The cost of discipleship
- Genesis 21:8-21
- Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
- Romans 6:1b-11
- Matthew 10:24-39
The disciples were sent out by Jesus to do nothing but make present God’s liberating power among the people. They heal the sick, preach release to the captives, and offer liberation to the oppressed. And what should they expect in return? No gratitude, no comfort, no welcome. They will be rejected flogged, vilified, called workers of the devil – just as Jesus was. No good deed goes unpunished for long. Just as the missionary disciples share Jesus’ mission and ministry, so will they share his persecution and martyrdom. There is a high cost of commitment to being a following of Jesus. Disciples must be prepared for conflict (10:34), family strife, and be ready, if necessary, to choose Jesus over the closest personal ties.
So why did they do it? Why did they put up with so much pain and suffering to follow Jesus? Perhaps because they had grasped by a Divine love so wondrous and so powerful that whatever hardships came along paled in comparison to what Paul called “the riches of his grace the he lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Members of the Christian community are to proclaim their faith through their actions and attitudes in which believes must choose between church and family. “To lose one’s life” could mean to die a violent death, or it could picture the difficulty of self-denial. To “find” one’s life means to obtain, win, or preserve life. True life is found through Jesus. The promise of God’s presence and care lead to true live – now and for eternity.
- How does Jesus characterize the life of a disciple in today’s Gospel?
- What are the specific fears Jesus identifies, and what assurances does he offer to calm our fears?
- What do you think the words, “take up your cross and follow me? (Matthew 10:38) might have meant to those who heard Jesus speak?
- In Paul’s letter to the Romans he writes of dying and living with Christ. What do we need to let go of in order to live fully in Christ?