Luke 14:25-33 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
When I read this passage words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Cost of Discipleship come to mind: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Everyone who knows Bonhoeffer’s story knows of his execution and thus connects his death with these words. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Bonhoeffer explored in great depth the relationship of discipleship and the cross, and for him the cross involved the expectation of suffering. It’s not just any suffering, it’s not sickness or injury, it is suffering that comes as a result of one’s confession of faith in Christ. Looking out at his own context of 1930s Germany, he could take note of how “a Christianity that no longer took discipleship seriously remade the gospel into only the solace of cheap grace” [Discipleship, p. 86].