Jesus in chapter 14 mixes it up a bit with the Pharisees and other religious leaders in verses 1-24. There are some great points going on there, but I am going to choose again this week to focus on just one passage: Luke 14:25-33.
This is what the passage says in Common English Translation:
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, 26 “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. 30 They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’ 31 Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand soldiers could go up against the twenty thousand coming against him? 32 And if he didn’t think he could win, he would send a representative to discuss terms of peace while his enemy was still a long way off. 33 In the same way, none of you who are unwilling to give up all of your possessions can be my disciple.
First: this was spoken to a large crowd. This is not just a message for the 12 or the elite fo the elite, this message goes out to anyone that wants to follow after Jesus.
Second: it starts with a message about ‘hating’one’s family. Again, Jesus did not mean, go hate your family. Instead, we should read this something like this, “You must love me about all things – I must be your first love. All other loves – even of the family must be second to your love of your Creator.” If you don’t do this, then you can not be my disciple.
Third: A disciple is simply a follower or devotee of. If we are going to follow Jesus He must occupy first place in our lives. Not second or when I get time to Him after all my other stuff.
Fourth: If we do not carry our crosses, we can not be his disciples. In other words, if we do not die to ourselves – then we can not be His disciples. It is not enough to believe in the death of Jesus; to be His disciples we must share in His death.
Fifth: Do we have to be a disciple to be saved? I get this question a lot when I look at this passage with a group. Let me ask this: Does the Bible articulate levels of following God. Option A – for only the really committed – they are saved and all in. Option B – mostly in, better than most, getting saved and has some things to show for it this side of heaven. Option C – just enough in to get to heaven? As we have read Luke, do we get this multi-layer read of what it means to follow Jesus and experience salvation? We will talk about this on Sunday in Blaze a bit more.
Sixth: do not enter into this lightly. Jesus gives two illustrations. One is of a person building a tower and the other is a king going to war. Both must consider this: do they have the resources to see the venture through to the end and be victorious? If not, why start? Follow Jesus is a serious, serious step. It is not to be entered into lightly. But if you do enter in then….
There are realistic expectations of what it means to follow Jesus.
There exist real grace and empowerment by the Holy Spirit to live out our discipleship.
Have a great week.
Strength and courage,