“Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them……” Luke 14:25
There was a time Jesus had large crowds following him. When we see the movies or read the story, we often only picture the band of 12 and maybe a few more. We don’t conjure up visions of large crowds journeying with Jesus through the desert and into Jerusalem. Where do we get the notion it was only a few?
Perhaps it is because Jesus did not rally a crowd into a frenzy of action with passionate words that would lead to revolution. Rather Jesus spoke words of deep commitment and the harsh requirements of following him began to thin the crowd. He turned and said to them….What? He said things like: “whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” and “none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions”.
All Jesus needs to do is rally the crowd and he has a movement. However, he lays on the cost of discipleship very heavy. Then teaches about forgiving enemies. This is not good crowd management. Each step on the journey to Jerusalem and the Passion thins out the crowd. By the time Jesus gets to the cross you can count the followers on one hand.
Seems like Jesus desires the commitment of the heart rather than the notoriety that comes with a crowd. Following is not about the many jumping on the bandwagon but discipleship is about the ‘all-in’ dedication of your life. Discipleship has a cost.