(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
4. The Cost Of Discipleship
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father … mother, … wife … children, … brothers …. sisters– … even his own life– he cannot be my disciple.” A disciple must love the Lord Jesus MORE THAN self, anyone or anything else in life . The Apostle Peter had to face this question before the Lord Jesus could reinstate him after his denial, when Jesus asked, “…do you truly love me more than these?”: more than you love the other disciples? More than you love the fishing gear and the fishing?
“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” To be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus requires a daily self-denial, dedication and a willing obedience to the cause of Christ, just as those who were executed by crucifixion were dedicated to their cause, be it political or social .
“…first… estimate the cost…” There is a cost to everything in life, and in the same way as a builder has to estimate the cost of building, or a king the cost of going to war, the cost of discipleship has to be considered since the Lord Jesus expects complete dedication from His followers. Our Lord Jesus expects each disciple to “give up everything he has” Complete surrender is required for discipleship.
“Salt is good” Salt should create a thirst for complete surrender, it should be a preservative for our dedication to our Lord, “but if it loses its saltiness” our thirst and dedication will be ineffective, and the question remains, “how can it be made salty again?”
5. The Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, And The Lost [Prodigal] Son
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”” The Scribes (Teachers of the Law) and Pharisees were constantly opposing the Lord Jesus, trying to trap Him so that they could arrest Him. Here we see another confrontation where they accuse Him of befriending and welcoming sinners, to which the Lord Jesus tells three parables in which the theme is rejoicing over the repentance of sinners
The Lost Sheep The Lord God had always referred to His people Israel as sheep that He cared for and protected , and here the Lord Jesus continues this theme in reference to the shepherd searching for the one lost sheep, and upon finding it there is rejoicing in heaven, in contrast to the merciless attitude of the Pharisees and Scribes towards sinners.
The Lost Coin Although the woman had nine other coins, the lost coin was just as important and valuable to her; forcing her to search her house diligently until she found it. Again, the Lord Jesus likens this to the repentance of a lost sinner and the merciless attitude of the Pharisees and Scribes.
The Lost Son This parable brought the message home to the hearers since what the father did for his younger son, in granting his request for his portion of the inheritance, was very unusual; causing the older brother to develop a bitter attitude towards his younger brother. After squandering his portion of the inheritance, the younger son recognizes his error in judgment and his great need and returns penitent to his father’s house. Whereupon, his father welcomes and accepts him by the gifts given – “the best robe… a ring… and sandals…. the fattened calf… celebrate.” Again the reason for the celebration is that a sinner has repented, “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” As the older brother objected to this celebration because of his “Pharisaic”resentment, the father reminds him, “’My son,.. ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” A reference to the fact that there is more rejoicing in heaven over the repentance of one sinner.
So it is a fact that the Lord Jesus welcomes sinners, especially when the sinner repents and seeks the forgiveness of a loving heavenly Father .