Jesus did a strange thing when he called people to follow him — he tells them to consider the cost of doing so because it is astronomical! He wants them to know it will be extremely difficult to be his follower. It’s as if he wants us to doubt our decision to be his disciples, but why?
Let us look at what Luke 14:27-33 says about the cost:
Firstly they have to die to themselves and give up their own dreams, ambitions and hopes. Secondly they have to completely renounce themselves and give up on any goodness, capability or virtue they might possess. Instead we are to put Jesus first and be willing to suffer for his sake and for the gospel.
If Jesus genuinely wanted people to come to him and enjoy the blessings of the gospel, why would he hinder them from coming by making it seem so terribly scary? What could possibly explain Jesus’ strange strategy to invite followers? It doesn’t seem very loving if he is preventing people from enjoying what he knows is a good thing.
Then I saw that Jesus bids his disciples to do so, not as a scare tactic, but because he wants them to finish and to win! In the preceding passage, we read that the only way to enjoy gospel blessings is by leaving our life and coming to him, but he knows that many do not come though they are invited (Luke 14:16-24). They do not come because they are more concerned about their present lives than their future in eternity.
Those who do not come do not enjoy a relationship with him; the big question then is how do we actually come? His answer, though daunting, is loving because he doesn’t leave us clueless; he tells us exactly how to come to him.
Just as it’s good to ‘finish the house’ and ‘win the war’, Jesus wants his followers to follow him to the end. To finish and to win the Christian race is what Jesus wants for us. Doubting ourselves can only be good if it means trusting entirely in him.