We could call chapter 10, “The Chapter on Discipleship”. In this chapter we have Jesus calling 12 of his disciples to be Apostles (vv. 1-4) (remember our note about the difference between the two from chapter 4). He then commissions them (vv. 5-15), and then goes into a long discourse about the conditions under which they will labor, and the costs and rewards thereof (vv. 16-42). Notice the rather harsh and straightforward language that Jesus uses. He’s not sugar-coating it or dancing around the tough parts- he’s putting it all out there to be either accepted or rejected by this new group of 12 intimate followers and, one could even say, coworkers, or Jesus.
The over all theme of this chapter then is about the costs of discipleship. And there are costs associated with following the Lord. In one way or another each one us have to come to terms and experience a peace of acceptance if we choose to follow the Lord and embrace those costs. And, according to Jesus, the cost are varied and many. There seems to be an emphasis on the fact that the preaching of the Gospel is naturally contrarian. It’s counter-cultural for sure; but it’s also counter-personal. Meaning that the preaching of the Gospel, and the hearing of the Gospel could be contrarian to formally held beliefs or behaviors that will have to either be reconciled with, or rejected because of, the preaching and hearing of the Gospel. In other words, there is a cost to being a disciple.
But it’s not all bad. Check out vv. 40-42 for the great rewards that come with preaching and hearing and responding to the Gospel. Never has Jesus been gloom-and-doom. While the Gospel message is inherently life-changing, the ultimate point is that change is always change for the better.
Point for Prayer
Reflect back a little: where did your discipleship to the Lord cost you something? How hard was it to pay that cost? As we move forward with our reading and praying with the Gospels, is there anything in what we’ve encountered so far that may make the next time you have to pay any easier?