In C. S. Lewis’ famous work, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Mr. Beaver tells Susan that Aslan, the ruler of Narnia, is a great lion. Susan is naturally surprised because she imagined that Aslan was a man, not a beast. “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion,” she tells Mr. Beaver. And then she asks if he is a safe lion, to which Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.”
The same is true of Jesus, the King of kings (Rev. 19:16). He is dangerously unsafe, especially to those who love their sin, because He calls sinners to forsake their sins and follow Him. Jesus is dangerous to sinners in the same way that a lifesaver is dangerous to a swimmer basking in the warm ocean while a life-threatening tsunami roars behind him—the lifesaver might ruin his good time, but it will save his life. So also, the gracious Lord rips sinners from sin’s warm and merry waters, but He saves them from the tsunami of God’s roaring wrath. He may be dangerous, but He is good.
Moreover, Jesus is not safe for those who prefer comfort over sacrifice. Following Him is not cheap. You will have to deny your sinful flesh daily (Luke 9:23). You will have to put your hand to the plow without looking back (Luke 9:62). You will have to carry your cross all the way to death (Luke 14:27).
Therefore, Jesus admonished all His would-be followers to count the great cost of following Him. He warned, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace” (Luke 14:28-32). Indeed, following Jesus is costly, but what a great gain it is! As Paul said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).
For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word: