One of the most perplexing things about Jesus' call to discipleship is what he demanded his followers to do. In Luke 5, he calls a group of fishermen to leave everything they have and know and follow him. In Luke 9:23, he informs his disciples that if they want to follow him, they must, "Deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Later in Luke 9, Jesus further amplifies the cost of following him in three exchanges. The first individual that wishes to follow Jesus is essentially told that although animals have nests, those who follow the Son of Man may become homeless. The second, while asking for a delay to bury his father, is told to let the dead take care of the dead. The last wishes to simply say goodbye to his parents and is told that if you do this you cannot possibly plow a straight furrow.
The responses of Jesus in Luke 9 are uncomfortable and often difficult to process. We expect a softer and gentler message of discipleship. The words of Christ from Luke 9 would not look great on the marquee of a church building. I believe that Jesus responds the way he does because being a disciple is not meant to be easy. This call is supposed to be challenging and at times take us out of our comfort zones. Think for a moment of what the disciples and first followers of Christ were heading into. They were entering a world that would reject their message and would be faced with hostility and challenges.
This week, enter into the Uncomfortable Kingdom. Take hold in the realization that Christ never invited us into a mission that was intended to be simple and easy but one that at times would be hard and challenging. If the are areas or situations in your life that you have been avoiding because you feel unprepared or uncomfortable, remember that God is calling you into those areas and has equipped you with not with a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)