Discipleship Requirements

In a previous post, I discussed two possible reasons for the question asked in Luke 13:23. As noted then, the Lord didn’t answer the question directly, but rather pointed out the individual need of each hearer to be saved. He was more interested in their individual needs than the number of people who would be saved.

As encouraging as that has been to know, the question asked of the Lord has still been nagging me. Why are so few saved? Or put another way, why do so few choose to follow Christ? While we might be tempted to talk about election at this point, the context does not. Jesus clearly addresses each individual’s needs by pointing out the requirements they would need to meet to be his disciple. Without them, they would not be able to follow him.

  1. A disciple must be real (12:1-3; 54-56; 13:10-17).
  2. A disciple must rely on God (12:6-7, 22-34).
  3. A disciple must be committed (12:8-9).
  4. A disciple must be prepared for division (12:49-53).
  5. A disciple must repent of his sins (13:1-5).

When these requirements are placed alongside the question asked in Luke 13:23, it suddenly makes sense. The question was an accurate observation of the generally negative response to Jesus’ call to discipleship. The crowds enjoyed the miracles and interesting sermons, but when faced with such requirements, they were quick to disappear. The cost of discipleship was much too high.

One must honestly consider that following Christ has caused many disciples to lose family, friendships, employment, and possessions. Why then would anyone want to follow Jesus, knowing this would in all probability happen to them? Ask Moses. The Scriptures tell us that he looked beyond the difficulties to what God had in store for him (Heb. 11:24-26). Like Moses, those who have made the choice have been convinced by the Holy Spirit that what Jesus offers is of much more value than the best the world can offer. May each of us do the same.

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