The question is, are we disciples of Jesus?
Do we want to be?
Reading in Matthew 10, we see Jesus' admonition as he sends out his disciples. Some of his statements were shocking. Think about how Jesus sent out his disciples... He did not send them out with a ton of money, he did not send them into areas of great comfort, and he didn't have a big organized training plan. He just had walked with them for several years.
But consider what he asked them to do.
First, he encourages them to take nothing. Presumably this was so that they would not emphasize or overemphasize money. He wanted them to live simply and in faith. He taught over and over that money can be the root of evil, and that serving money is impossible when you are serving God. He told them not even to take a lot of extra clothes.
Jesus didn't want them to have anything that would distract them from the message of the Gospel, or that would pervert the message or them as messengers.
Secondly, he encourages them to find people of peace. To stay in the house of someone trustworthy, to experience koinoina, fellowship, for as long as needed. Not everyone would be able to fulfill this requirement - to those who didn't, he encouraged the disciples to "shake the dust off their feet." Interesting,
Third, he reminds them that they must use great discernment. That there will be wolves among the sheep. Not everyone who receives them has good motives or pure interests. To be on guard, because the role of proclaiming the Gospel truth will not come without resistance. Which reminds us...
Fourth, that they will experience persecution. That they would go before councils and synagogues and kings. Even family members would betray them. Essentially, that "all men will hate them" because of Him. But this comes with an incredible promise - that those who stand firm will be saved.
Finally, Jesus finishes his discourse reminding them... Do not be afraid. Be courageous. Because you are on the side of light. Everything that is hidden will be made known. He reminds them. Do not be anxious. I will take care of you, just as I take care of the sparrows. And you are worth more than many sparrows.
Jesus final words are interesting - "Who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But who disowns me before me, I will disown before my Father in Heaven." "Whoever does not take up my Cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matt 10:35-36).
As we reflect on Jesus' charge in sending out his disciples, the question is:
Are we sure we want to be disciples of Jesus?
Perhaps far too many of us have not counted the cost.
Perhaps in 2023 we are living in a crisis of discipleship.
We want it all to be easy.
But where there is no cost, there is no true discipleship.