The Cost of Following Jesus, Matthew 8:18-22

Cost of Following Jesus: Matthew 8:18-22

Now when Jesus saw a large crowd around him, he gave orders to go to the other side of the lake. Then an expert in the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Read with notes  Matthew 8:18-22

The Cost of Following Jesus

The cost of following Jesus is the title of this section where two disciples approach Jesus and say they will follow him. One apparently as a teacher of the law has position and respect. His position provides comfort. Recognizing this, Jesus tells him ‘ the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ Jesus says you must leave behind your comfortable life if you want to follow me. The next person who approaches Jesus says he must bury a parent, the parent is not yet dead or near death but the person does not want to give up the hope of an inheritance. He wants to remain with them long enough to be considered a dutiful son and then receive an inheritance. In both cases they say they want to follow Jesus, but neither is willing to place full trust in Him. Both want the underpinning security of a position or an inheritance.

Cost of following Jesus: removing distraction

The cost of following Jesus requires that I give up anything that distracts me or anything that I might tend to trust in more than God. The cost of following Jesus requires everything, all I have, or all I think I have. In reality what do I have that God did not give me? Did he not make me? Did he not give me all the good things I have and enjoy? If I remember that he gave me my life and I give it back to him, the exchange will be that he will give me a better life and an eternal life when I pass from this life.

He offers freedom from the petty, poisonous, meaningless existence that I hang onto saying ‘mine.’ It is illusion. Give it up for a real life. Pass this test and find out what life is. He will not chase me or demand that I give up my dust worship — the worship of material things. I must give my life willingly and completely.

Cost of following Jesus means stepping beyond common sense or wisdom of man, (1 Cor 2:5 5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Many religious groups function and stand upon the wisdom of men. As a disciple and follower of Jesus, I must go beyond human wisdom.

1 Corinthians 2:1-16 KJV – 1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Cost of following Jesus More Clear with Early Church

The early church and the early church fathers clearly understood this message. In contrast, pop culture and counterfeit Christianity makes blends of Christ and… acceptable, even desirable; there exists no discussion of the cost of following Jesus. Christ and human rights, Christ and helping the poor, Christ and politics, who I am and how I serve should come distinctly and clearly from my relationship with Christ not from a faith blended with humanistic or political goals. If I am enamored with a blended faith, perhaps I should consider the cost of following Jesus. A blended faith is about me and what I think is right. Jesus tells me to follow him and him only.


  1. Have I considered the cost of following Jesus?
  2. What is Jesus telling me to leave and turn my back on?
  3. Are there comforts holding me back in my walk with Christ?
  4. What do I tend to lean on in times of trouble?
  5. In what do I base my future hope in?
  6. If suffering from a blended faith, how can I become a better servant or a more empowered servant?
  7. How can my church or religious peer group become a barrier to my walk with Christ?
  8. What worldly habits, motivations, practices continue unchallenged by my religious peer group?

Passage for Meditation

Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead. Matthew 8:22b


Father, common sense and the common sense messages around me distract and lull me to pursue safety, security, and the comforts of this world. Examine my life and help me make you Lord of it. Help me to willingly lay aside anything which impedes my relationship with you. Help me to trust in you and you alone.

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