When Jesus said that He was on the road to Jerusalem, He knew that he was on His way to the cross. The crowds that were with Him thought He was on His way to an empire. That is why He spoke to them like this. In the most vivid way possible, He told them that the man who followed Him was not on the way to worldly power, and glory, but must be ready for a loyalty which would be like the agony of a man on a cross. We must not take His words with cold, and unimaginative literalness. Eastern language is always as vivid as the human mind can make it. When Jesus tells us to hate our nearest, and dearest, He does not mean it literally. He means that no love in life can compare with love we must continually bear to Him. There are two suggestive truths in this passage.
(1st) it is possible to be a follower of Jesus without being a disciple; to be a camp-follower without being a soldier of the king; to be a hanger-on in some great work without pulling one's weight. Once someone was talking to a great scholar about a younger man. He said, "So tell me that he was one of your students." The teacher answered devastatingly, "He may have attended my lectures, but he was not one of my students." It is one of the supreme handicaps of the church that in it there are so many distant followers of Jesus and so few real disciples.
(2nd) it is a Christian's first duty to count the cost of following Jesus. The tower that the man was going to build was probably a vineyard tower. Vineyards were often equipped with towers from which watch was kept against thieves who might steal the harvest. An unfinished building is always a humiliating thing. In the marriage ceremony, the minister says, 'Marriage is not to be entered upon lightly, or unadvisedly, but thoughtfully, reverently, and in the fear of God." A man and a woman must count the cost.
It is so with the Christian way. If a man is daunted by the high demands of Jesus let him remember that he is not left to fulfill them alone. He who called him to the steep road will walk with him every step of the way, and be there at the end to meet him.
Life Application: Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? His path led to the cross. Where will He lead you now? I have loved following Him. Yes, it has been costly at times, but worth it all.
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, what a privilege it has been to serve You. The cost doesn't compare to all the blessings. Your blessing so outnumbers my giving. I love walking with You because when You are with me, I don't need to worry. "The joy of the Lord is my strength." That has never been so true as now. I Love walking with You because You add so much to my life. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!" Amen!