Jesus addresses the cost of discipleship in the readings this week but then goes on to speak of its benefits too.
In those days the Lord’s message brought controversy and turmoil instead of much peace. The missionary effort arising from it would divide the building blocks of ancient culture. In response to such a difficult task, the disciples were willing to take a risk to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, even to the cross, for such a willingness would lead to the eternal life which Christ promised. But what would be the fate of those who offered shelter and food to those who travelled in order to evangelise? We are told that they, too, would share in the benefits promised to the missionaries, receiving the reward of the prophet and the righteous man, the blessings of anyone who was willing to face dangers in order to spread the Good News.
We might reflect on the problems we face when we speak to others about Jesus today.
A relationship with Christ as His disciple meant freedom from the burdens of the highly regulated lifestyle of the Pharisees. Later in the week’s readings Jesus compares this relationship with the yoke shared by field oxen; sharing a task such as farm ploughing lightened the load. When a disciple learned from the Master, he shared not only the instruction given, but he also associated with the character of the Teacher and found an ease that came with respect. It was far easier to have a direction in spiritual life based upon attachment to a Master than to feel guilt over whether Pharisaic religious rules and regulations should be adhered to or not.
How much do we lay our burdens at the feet of Christ?