A hog and a hen sharing the same barnyard heard about a church’s program to feed the hungry. The hog and the hen discussed how they could help. The hen said, “I’ve got it! We’ll provide bacon and eggs for the church to feed the hungry.” The hog thought about the suggestion and said, “There’s only one problem with your bacon and eggs solution. For you, it only requires a contribution, but from me, it will mean total commitment!”
That’s the cost of true discipleship—total commitment. When Jesus left the Pharisee’s house, great crowds followed Him, but He was not impressed. He knew most of them were not interested in spiritual things. They wanted to see a miracle or get a free meal from Him.
Jesus turned to the multitude and preached a sermon (Luke 14:25-35) that deliberately thinned out the crowd. He was looking for those who were willing to pay the price of true discipleship or those who were committed to following Him no matter what was required.
In verse 27, He challenged them to live like a dead man. A real disciple is someone who carries his cross. Many Christians are confused today about what it means to carry a cross. Some have said, “I have migraine headaches, but I guess it’s just the cross I must bear.” Today, the cross has become benign—a piece of harmless jewelry. In Jesus’ time, it was a horrible, agonizing, tortuous mode of execution. It was the noose, the electric chair, or the lethal injection of His day. In the time of Jesus when you saw someone carrying a cross it meant one and only one thing—they were as good as dead.
We are to die to self. The Bible says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” You cannot offend a dead man! That means there is nothing the world has to offer you that interests you—it’s as if the world is dead to you and you are dead to the world.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”—Psalm 119:165