…It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man and his call. Jesus’ summons to the rich young man was calling him to die, because only the man who is dead to his won will can follow Christ. In fact every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and his call are necessarily our death as well as our life. The call to discipleship, the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ means both death and life.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 44
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the most intriguing figures of the 20th century. This Lutheran minister turned conspirator in the plot to assassinate Hitler is fascinating. His vision of discipleship is captivating, and while I wouldn’t necessarily agree with all of his views theologically, there’s much that can be learned from him and his call to “costly discipleship.”
“When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die,” wrote Bonhoeffer. In these 11 words, he manages to encapsulate the New Testament’s teaching on what it means to follow Christ.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me,” said Jesus in Luke 9:23. It’s a call to the death of self, to the putting aside of our own desires and plans in order to follow Him.
I read Eric Metaxas’ book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy several months ago, and Metaxas’ portrait of Bonhoeffer is one I’m still chewing on. It’s one I want you to enjoy as well—by giving one of you a free copy. Details after the book trailer:
Here’s how you can enter using one of or more of the following options:
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This contest is now closed. Thanks to all who participated!