“…great multitudes went with Him…”Luke 14:25
Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, He was still popular with the people. Many followed the Lord because He healed and performed miracles. Most thought Messiah was headed to establish a throne in Jerusalem and overthrow the Roman Government, driving them out of Palestine. This misread excursion even caused Zebedee’s sons to ask for a position they knew nothing about (Mark 10:40). Limited knowledge of who Jesus is and what He came to do develops superficial Christianity.
It would seem in times past that Jesus had more care and compassion for those who followed Him. As the Cross gained a closer view, Christ’s instructions became more solemn and direct. At times they were even offending sensitive sensibilities. We must not misinterpret the Lord’s grave pleas for true discipleship as anything less than His great love. As the path to an end shortens, warnings become earnest. “The ultimate test of true Christianity,” writes John MacArthur, “is endurance. The departure of people from the truth and the church is their unmasking.” Endurance to the end is what discipleship requires.
Following Jesus superficially will be unmasked in difficulties. There will be occasions where Christ will not be popular, and a true disciple must demonstrate durability. Following Jesus must be done unreservedly by remaining spiritually focused, not “psychologically motivated.” It is responding to Jesus willingly and submitting all to Him. And, it is doing this every day, all the way to the end.
“…and you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”– Mark 13:13