“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” —Luke 14:27
Jesus was becoming very popular in His ministry—maybe too much so. People followed Him in great numbers. The crowds swelled on a daily basis. But Jesus looked at these people and, being God, knew their motives.
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He recognized that most of them were not interested in spiritual things at all. They wanted to be dazzled by a few miracles. Others heard that He had fed the hungry. A few hoped He would overthrow Rome and establish the kingdom of God.
There were various reasons people had for following Him, but He realized many of them were following Him for the wrong reason. Thus, He made a series of statements intentionally designed to thin out the ranks. He wanted to be left with those who really wanted to follow Him—not fair-weather followers but true, committed disciples and soldiers.
In the same way in the church today, there are many people who are not really interested in the spiritual. God wants us to follow Him for the right motives.
Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. . . . Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14: 27, 33). Here Jesus laid out plainly what it is to be His disciple, to be a soldier in His service.
God has an unusual set of mathematics. He subtracts in order to multiply. Sometimes we think bigger is always better. But these words of Jesus show that He is more interested in quality than He is in quantity. Yes, He wants everyone to come into the Kingdom. He wants everyone to believe. But He wants us to come with the right motives, because a halfhearted soldier can be more of a liability than an asset.