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John 21:18-19

Count the Cost

18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

After questioning Peter about his love for Him, Jesus proceeded to tell him what his love would cost?

This is an important lesson for most of us who live in a country where there is an abundance of material wealth. Most modern Christians living in the United States seem unwilling to sacrifice very much for the cause of Christ. They say that they love Him and are willing to die for Him but, when asked to help in a ministry, they say that they do not have the time. How can anyone be willing to die for Him but not be willing to live for Him; how would they sacrifice their life for Him when they are not willing to give up even an hour or two of their time?

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:26-28)

There is a cost to be paid for following Jesus. He had told His disciples on many occasions that the world would hate them because of their love for Him. He had said that the servant was not greater than the Master and therefore should not expect to be treated any better. Yet, most people who follow Him are only looking for the rewards.

"When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest..." Perhaps Jesus was making a reference to the way Peter had quickly girded himself with his fisherman's undergarment. dived into the water and swam toward the shore to be with Jesus. It was a rather youthful and impetuous act, which demonstrated the freedom that Peter enjoyed as a young man. Few people are willing to give up their freedoms, especially when they are young.

However, Jesus told Peter, "...but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not." There would come a time when Peter would pay the cost of discipleship. Jesus said that when Peter was old, instead of enjoying his freedom, he would see a day when he would be held prisoner. Instead of tying his garment around his waist so he could run, someone else would be tying his outstretched hands to a cross upon which he would die.

Although his flesh would not want to die, Peter's love for Christ would make him willing to face death on the tortuous cross. Both his life and his death would be committed to bringing glory to God. Having denied Jesus three times, these words must have been comforting to Peter. Now he knew that Jesus understood how much he loved Him; and when Jesus said, "Follow me," Peter did not hesitate.

Each of us has to examine our own hearts to see how deep our love for Jesus goes. Do we serve Him with everything we have, or is there a point where we say, "That's enough! That is all I can give?" We must count the cost of discipleship and decide whether or not we will follow Him. If we pick up our cross daily, we must be willing to die upon it daily. If we are dying daily, why do we do so much for ourselves and so little for Jesus?

These are hard questions, but they must be resolved before anyone can claim to be a Christian. The answers will determine not only how we live today but where we will spend eternity.

Before The Throne:

The questions that are raised in this devotional can only be resolved by asking the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and to reveal the answers to you. We do not know how we will respond when faced with immediate death because of our faith, but Jesus knows. Pray that He would give you the assurance that your faith is real. Ask Him to help you act out that faith in your daily life. Pray that everything you do in life and in death would be to the glory of God. Pray that He would keep you from yielding to temptations and from dishonoring His name. Praise Him with a song.

For Further Study:

** but. John 13:36; Act 12:3,4; ** another. Act 21:11; ** thou wouldest not. John 12:27,28; 2Cor 5:4;

(v.19) ** by. Phil 1:20; 1Pet 4:11-14; 2Pet 1:14; ** Follow. John 12:26; 13:36,37; Num 14:24; 1Sam 12:20; Mt 10:38; 16:21-25; 19:28; Mr 8:33-38; Luk 9:22-26;


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