If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26–27)
Jesus is unashamed and unafraid of telling us up front the “worst” — the painful cost of being a Christian: hating family (v. 26), carrying a cross (v. 27), renouncing possessions (v. 33). There is no small print in the covenant of grace. It is all big, and bold. No cheap grace! Very costly! Come, and be my disciple.
But Satan hides his worst and shows only his best. All that really matters in the deal with Satan is in small print on the back page.
On the front page in big, bold letters are the words, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), and “All these things I will give to you, if you fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). But on the back page in small print — so small you can only read it with the magnifying glass of the Bible — it says: “And after the fleeting pleasures, you will suffer with me forever in hell.”
Why is Jesus willing to show us his “worst” as well as his best, while Satan will only show us his best? Matthew Henry answers, “Satan shows the best, but hides the worst, because his best will not [counterbalance] his worst; but Christ’s will abundantly.”
The call of Jesus is not just a call to suffering and self–denial; it is first a call to a banquet. This is the point of the parable in Luke 14:16–24. Jesus also promises a glorious resurrection where all the losses of this life will be repaid (Luke 14:14). He also tells us that he will help us endure the hardships (Luke 22:32). He also tells us he will give us the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). He promises that even if we are killed for the kingdom, “not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).
Which means that when we sit down to calculate the cost of following Jesus — when we weigh the “worst” and the “best” — he is worth it. Abundantly worth it (see Romans 8:18).
Not so with Satan. Stolen bread is sweet, but afterward the mouth is full of gravel (see Proverbs 20:17).