A few years ago my wife and I went on a cruise with some friends and one of our stops was in Cozumel, Mexico, where my wife and her pal had planned to stock up on new diamonds for their wedding rings. In one of the shops we visited, my wife’s friend found a beautiful, large diamond, it came with a price tag of about $5,000! The salesman immediately discounted the ring for his new customer, to the tune of, let’s say, $1000. Our friend immediately became excited, but I looked at her husband and said, “That thing is a pile of junk.” Why? Things that are valuable cost something, because they’re worth something.
(Context: Luke gives us prerequisites for attending the banquet in 14.12-24)
- Following Jesus Cannot Be Accomplished With Casual Commitment (25-26)
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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.
- Not exactly the best timing for this message if Jesus’ aim was building the biggest church possible. Perfect timing if his intention was building the most authentic church possible.
- Now we know that Jesus isn’t telling us to literally hate our family. He’s using an idiom that essentially communicates to the crowd that our love for others should pale in comparison to our love for him. (See. Gen. 29.30-31; Mal. 1.22,3)
- What’s the difference between accompanying Jesus and authentically following Him? The difference is found in the answer to the following question. Do you admire Jesus or worship him? What’s the difference?
- Could you imagine winning over your love with a half-hearted proposal? I don’t think so. Should we not be more committed to Christ?
- Is Jesus priority one?
2. Following Jesus Calls For Self-Denial (27).
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
- What does this phrase mean?
- When someone carried a cross beam in the New Testament era, it meant certain punishment. There was no doubt to the carrier’s fate.
- When the Roman government made one sentenced to death carry their cross through town to the place of their execution, that was a public statement that the Roman government was right in their judgment.
- It is us living our lives with the continual admission that Jesus is right in all things. When it comes to matters of society or culture, personal opinion is largely irrelevant. What does Jesus say on the matter? What does the bible say? This is what matters. Life isn’t about my desires, only Christ’s.
- “Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Hold over my being absolute sway
Filled with Thy spirit till all can see
Christ only always living in me”
- “Have Thine own way Lord
- Authentic disciples realize that eternal life comes only after self-execution.
- “But it is folly to shift our eyes to the fact that His way is narrow, and the cross comes before the crown.” – JC Ryle.
3. Following Jesus Comes At A Cost (28-33).
28 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 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? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
- Jesus uses a couple of illustrations to emphasize how we should prioritize following him.
- Do not follow Christ without first counting the cost before hand and evaluating if you are willing to pay it.
- What a tragedy to begin in faith and flounder it in worldliness, or selfishness, or sin.
- Following Jesus costs you everything!
- I know this seems like an incredibly steep price. You may be thinking, “It’s just not worth it.” But could it be that we have a problem with our priorities and the joy we receive from them? Jesus tells a couple of stories in
4. An Illustration: The Need For Authentic Followers (34-35).
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
- The point of the parable: Casually following Christ is a hazard to the Kingdom of God.
3 Practical Steps To Help You Be An Authentic Disciple:
- Read God’s Word
- Serve In God’s Kingdom
- Be Involved In Christian Community
- Be Faithful In Christocentric Education