In the mid to late 1930s, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party and the Third Reich gained greater control of German society; including the German Church and State. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and theologian wrote extensively on subjects affecting the church of the day. This included his book ‘Discipleship’ a study on the Sermon on the Mount that argued for greater spiritual discipline and practise to achieve ‘the costly grace’.
His treatise on the Sermon on the Mount opens by describing the impact that the call of Jesus Christ had on lives of his disciples. “So they left everything behind and followed him”. The disciples belonged to Jesus completely, they went where He went, lived where He lived and followed him wherever he lead them. In fact, “they followed the voice of the good shepherd, because they knew his voice.” He had called each one individually; they had given up everything in response to his call. Now they were living in denial and want; they had only him, “nothing in the world, yet everything in God.” This is the first lesson we learn from Bonhoeffer’s writings; the cost of true discipleship is to give up everything to follow Christ!