Large crowds were going along with [Jesus]; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35)
How much does it cost to be one of Jesus’ disciples? As much as you have. Jesus said that following him required a willingness to place Jesus’ demands above those of our family and ourselves. Disciples need to be willing to be ready for martyrdom.
“Carrying your own cross,” is a powerful image. Those condemned to crucifixion had to carry their own cross to the place of execution. A person carrying his cross was a person who had lost everything; he was stripped naked, he was exhausted. He had no possessions, no family. He was hungry and thirsty. And all he had ahead of him was a torturous and brutal death.
Therefore, just as God asked the Israelites in the wilderness with Moses to consider carefully before they committed themselves to becoming his special people, so today we need consider the high cost of joining with Jesus before we commit to him. A disciple who gives up along the way because of how hard it gets, is not fit for anything and can never be made useful again. Jesus doesn’t like quitters.