The Cost of Being a Disciple is sometimes referred to as one of the Parables of Jesus. This parable is also known as Counting the Cost, The Cost of Discipleship, or The Cost of Following Jesus.
These parables offer eye-opening insight into the sacrifice (cost) that disciples of Jesus must be willing to make.
In this article, we cover the parables found in Matthew 8:18-22 and Luke 14:25-34.
- The Cost of Being a Disciple Bible Verse
- The Cost of Being a Disciple Meaning
- What does the Bible say about the Cost of Discipleship?
- Commentary: The Cost of Discipleship Matthew 8
- More Parables!
The Cost of Being a Disciple Bible Verse
When other parables are included in multiple Gospels, they are written similarly and are indisputably the same.
However, in the case of the Cost of Following Jesus Parable, the version in the Book of Luke doesn’t align with the version in the Book of Matthew. Even so, the topics and the lessons are similar, so both are covered here.
Cost of Being a Disciple Bible Verse, Matthew 8:18-22 NIV
The Cost of Following Jesus
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Cost of Being a Disciple Bible Verse, Luke 14:25-34 NIV
The Cost of Being a Disciple
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
The Cost of Being a Disciple Meaning
Although Matthew 8 and Luke 14 are written very differently, the cost of being a disciple meaning is similar for both of them.
The cost of being a disciple meaning is that when we follow Jesus there is always a cost. The term ‘cost’ usually indicates money, but that’s not the case for this parable.
The cost of following Jesus is sacrificial, as we will see.
For some people in the world, their cost of being a disciple is potentially their lives, literally. Thankfully most of us don’t live in countries that persecute Christians, but there is still a cost for each of us to follow Him.
Perhaps the cost will be in alienating people we love or finding that our friends “don’t seem to have time for us” anymore.
Maybe we’ll have to stand up against an injustice that puts us at odds with our children’s school or our workplace.
Or perhaps, we’ll have the personal cost of needing to give up lifestyle choices that we enjoy but that don’t align with Christ’s views.
The point is that there is a cost to being a disciple. For all of us.
What does the Bible say about the Cost of Discipleship?
The Bible verses from Matthew 8 and Luke 14 cover several different aspects about the cost of discipleship and they all apply to our lives today. Let’s take a closer look.
1. There is a steep cost
In Luke 14:26-27 NIV, it states: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Whoa! In Luke 14, He doesn’t mince words that the journey may be very difficult. And He still expects us to follow Him when it’s difficult.
As an example, if following Christ leads to disagreement and contention between us and beloved family members, who will we choose? Our parents, spouse, children, siblings…. or Christ?
It’s a tough decision that we hope to never face, but it’s possible. Would you be willing to pay the price to choose Christ?
2. We should weigh the cost
Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
Similarly, Luke 14:31 says: “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?”
We can understand from these examples that jumping into a decision without careful consideration is foolish and can lead to unfortunate consequences later on.
In the same way, we wouldn’t start the construction of a building we couldn’t afford to complete or start a war we couldn’t win, we shouldn’t jump into the Christian journey without the same considerations.
Until a person is ready to accept the commitment required, they aren’t ready to follow Christ. But the good news is that Christ is ready and waiting for us when the time comes.
3. The ‘old you’ will need to transition into a ‘new you’
We often hear it said that being saved is only a matter of accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. But we sometimes forget about the part when Jesus tells us to give up our lives to follow Him.
Luke 9:23 NIV says: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
When we follow Christ, He expects us to change and ‘deny ourselves’. He expects our priorities will no longer be what they used to be. He expects that His priorities will become our priorities.
We cannot become a disciple of Christ and stay the same. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV tells us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
When considering the cost of being a disciple, we must consider if we’re willing to give up our lives as we know them. The ‘old you’ must be willing to transform into a ‘new you’.
4. When Jesus calls, follow
Jesus is our Lord and Savior. God is our Creator and Sovereign Father. As such, we must give due reverence and respect.
If God knocked on our door, we wouldn’t shout out, “Hang on, I’m cleaning the toaster. I’ll be there in a minute.”
While that’s an easy example to show how silly it would be to put off God for some mundane task, let’s make it a little more difficult.
Let’s say God calls when we’re helping our neighbor. What if He called while we were interviewing for our dream job? What if He called on the day of our parent’s funeral?
Matthew 8:21-22 NIV says: Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
When God sends you on a mission, GO without hesitation. When He gives you instructions, follow immediately in faith. Nothing in our lives is more important than following God.
5. We must be willing to give up ourselves
In Luke 14:33, Jesus said, “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
In His most direct description of His disciples, Jesus says His disciples must give up everything. Anyone not willing to give up everything cannot be a disciple. Talk about a huge cost!
When we choose to follow Jesus, we must be willing to put Him before anyone and everything else in our lives. This includes our own desires and aspirations.
When we look at the cost of following Jesus in this way, it can feel impossible and overwhelming.
But it’s not impossible!
Putting Jesus first in your life one minute at a time, soon adds up to days, then months, then years. A life spent with Jesus as the highest priority promises the most rewarding life we could imagine.
Parables of Jesus Devotional Book – Coming Soon!
Commentary: The Cost of Discipleship Matthew 8
Find The Cost of Being a Disciple of Jesus (Counting the Cost, The Cost of Discipleship, or The Cost of Following Jesus) Commentaries at Bible Study Tools.com. They include free and paid versions. For this article, I referred to Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.
This post may contain affiliate links. This is my full disclosure.
Photo by Nicola Barts.
Do you love the parables as much as I do? You may enjoy reading life lessons on these others (listed below), these activities for adults and children, or this list of Parables and Meanings. More parable lessons are underway. See them all HERE!
Do you love journaling? Does writing down your personal reflections help you process your thoughts more fully? Perhaps these Christian writing journals will be helpful as you reflect on the life lessons of the parables.
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