“And a scribe came up and said to him, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’” (Matthew 8:19-20)
John Gill and Charles Spurgeon were both English Baptist Reformed preachers and theologians. While these two giants of the faith lived in different eras, they had much in common, including the depth and conviction of their teaching. Today’s devotion is entirely based on Dr. Gill’s commentary on the passage above and Dr. Spurgeon’s sermon entitled “Counting The Cost, no. 1159,” based on Luke 14:28-30.
I am especially impressed and personally convicted by Dr. Gill’s initial notes on Matthew 8:19-20. “One would have thought, that this man desired in good earnest to be a disciple of Christ, were it not for Christ’s answer to him, who knew his heart: from whence it appears, that he, seeing the miracles which Christ wrought, and observing the fame of him among the people, began to think that he would be generally received as the Messiah; and by joining himself to him, promised himself much ease, honor, and wealth. These seem to be the motives, which prevailed upon him to take so sudden and hasty a step; for he did not wait to be called to follow Christ, as the other disciples were, but offers himself to be one; that is, to be one of his intimates, one of his apostles; and besides, he rashly promises to do that, which he knew nothing of, and which in some cases is impossible to be done.”
Knowing his heart, Jesus sought to shake the man out of his dream of finding wealth and prestige by following him. Not only would he not prosper, but as a disciple of Christ, the man would have to rest wherever he could find a safe place, like a fox hiding its family from danger. He would have less than the birds, who at least have nests. He would be more tired, hungry, and thirsty than he ever thought possible. But this would be worth it, if the man valued Jesus more than a home, rest, food, or drink. Jesus knew the cost of saving sinners and counted it worthwhile; we are called to also count and pay the price to follow him.
Dr. Spurgeon says, “True religion is costly…If a man will be a Christian it will cost him something…Consider a moment; here is a blind man sitting by the wayside begging; he asks to have his eyes opened. Will it cost him anything? No, the Savior would not accept all the gold in the world for the cure! He will freely open his eyes, but when they are opened it will cost that blind man something! Obtaining his sight, he will be called upon to discharge the duties of one who has eyes; he will not be allowed, any longer, to sit there and beg, or, if he tries to do so, he will lose the sympathy which is bestowed upon blindness. Now that his eyes are opened he must use them, earn his own bread…Wisdom suggests that we should count the cost.”
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’… So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:28-30, 33)
Have you realistically counted the cost of following Jesus? Are there financial expenses or pleasures should you be renouncing as the cost of following Christ? What is your relationship with Jesus worth to you?
* Gill, John–https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-8-21.html
Spurgeon, Charles– https://www.spurgeongems.org/vols19-21/chs1159.pdf