What is the Cost?

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

John rebuked Herod the ruler, who married his brother’s wife and also because of all the evil things that Herod had done, and Herod added to the evil he had done by shutting up John in prison.

Luke 3:19-20

John the Baptist, probably never realized to what extremes following Jesus would take him. The most he absolutely knew was that his vocation was to be preparing people for the call of Jesus to be Jesus’ disciples. It seems to be a fairly straight-forward task. Tell the truth. Let people know that Jesus was coming.

This reminds me of a job that my father-in-law once had. He was the comptroller of a shirt manufacturer in Tennessee. When he took the job he didn’t know what new owners would ask of him, nor did he know what saying “no” to them would cost him. He was fired because he wouldn’t do what they wanted.

Similarly, John the Baptist once told Herod, the Roman ruler of Israel, that he, Herod, should not be married to Herodias. Why? Herodias had been his brother’s wife. That’s when John found out what the cost of his commitment to truth was. Herod threw John in prison and, at the urging of his wife, had John beheaded.

Jesus was clear about the cost of following him. He told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Through historical references we know that ten of the apostles suffered cruel deaths because they followed Jesus: by sword, by crucifixion, by hanging, by burning alive, by beheading, and by being beaten to death.

Living in the West insulates us from the cost of following Jesus and makes us immune to Jesus’ call. Lent, on the other hand, causes us to think about what it cost Jesus to live among us and, therefore, what it costs to follow him. John the Baptist knew this and lived up to his commitment to Christ.

Something to think about: Western fear makes us cowardly and unprincipled. We fear losing our privilege. We fear the inconvenience of doing without the pleasures of privilege. We fear difficulty. Jesus reminds us that following him means ignoring fear and embracing faith. What would you say your greatest earthly fears are?

Something to pray about: Our father in heaven. John the Baptist reminds us what it looks like when we live courageously as disciples of Jesus. So we pray for you to live in us, giving us the strength and resolve to follow you wherever, undaunted by our fears and regardless of the cost. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Leave a Comment