37Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Jesus constantly reminded the twelve that following Him would be costly. Several words in these verses help us understand the cost of discipleship.
Jesus used the word “anyone” three times in these two verses. The cost of discipleship was the same for all whether rich or poor, educated or ignorant, male or female, young or old, famous or infamous. Jesus said that anyone who wanted to follow Him would have to make Him top priority and that anyone who wanted to follow would have to carry a cross.
Jesus used the phrase more than twice in these verses. Discipleship to Jesus was not a program or a class. Discipleship was all about relationships. The starting point of discipleship is to love Jesus more than we love anyone or anything. If we love anyone more than we love Him, then we have missed the first step of discipleship. The problem here is not that a person loves family, but that they love family (or anything) more than Jesus. If we want to follow Jesus, then nothing can be more than Jesus in our lives.
While much of discipleship is about community and relationship, there is an aspect of discipleship that every individual must do on his own. Each individual must pick up his cross as he follows Jesus. No one can do this for us. Cross carrying is at the heart of discipleship.
After all the talk about the cross, family, love, and priorities, the bottom line of discipleship is to follow Jesus. Some follow church leaders and think that is discipleship. Others follow a religious group or a spiritual fad and think that is discipleship. When you boil it down to its most basic form, discipleship is simply following Jesus, no matter what the cost.