Luke 14:25-33Amplified Bible
25 Now large crowds were going along with Jesus; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not [a]hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]—he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a watchtower [for his guards], does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is unable to finish [the building], all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else [if he feels he is not powerful enough], while the other [king] is still a far distance away, he sends an envoy and asks for terms of peace. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not [carefully consider the cost and then for My sake] [b]give up all his own possessions.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
As a homeowner, I absolutely need to keep my lawn mowed in the summertime, and that’s something I definitely find I enjoy doing for myself and for my wife.
As we have felt, the weather can get warm in August, so I can spend quite a bit of energy doing the lawn. The exercise is good, but when I am done, I can tell I have used up a lot of strength and energy. It costs me something to do the work.
In our Gospel reading for today, Rabbi Jesus talks about the cost of following him. Some of his words sound harsh, and sometimes Jesus spoke this way to make clear that following him is not easy. Instead, it can be very hard work.
For example, following Master Rabbi Jesus can mean that our relationships with family and friends become strained because they do not believe in him.
In those ancient of first century days, it meant, as Peter, James and John found out, to completely walk away from the family business. It meant as Matthew and Zacchaeus would find out – utterly walking away from incredible wealth.
It meant yoking themselves to their new teacher Rabbi Jesus, walking away from their homes – into the Judean wilderness – to live – who knows where.
Luke 9:57-60Amplified Bible
57 As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” 59 He said to another, “Follow Me [accepting Me as Master and Teacher].” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and [a]bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and spread the news about the kingdom of God.”
As Peter also found out, it meant leaving his wife and Mother-in-law behind to following this Master Rabbi Jesus in walking all over the Judean Countryside.
As Jesus’ own Mother found out – the composition and definition of family and the cost of yoking themselves to Master Rabbi/Teacher Jesus can sound harsh.
Mark 3:31-35Amplified Bible
31 Then His mother and His brothers arrived and standing outside they sent word to Him and called for Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Look! Your mother and Your brothers are outside asking for You.” 33 And He replied, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 Looking at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For [a]whoever does the will of God [by believing in Me, and following Me], he is My brother and sister and mother.”
In another passage Jesus states the same thing in a way easier to understand:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother . . . [or] son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).
In other words, we agree to yoke ourselves to a supernatural anointing that means great personal sacrifice – careers, income, homes, and even family.
It means walking away from our reputations into a lifestyle completely, 100% utterly opposite of those which others – family, friends, coworkers – even, if our lives have fallen so far away – into crime, living in and among the high-risk criminal lifestyle of street gangs, drug dealing, drug distribution, even prison. and whatever other high impact behaviors which separates us from God’s life.
Consider what the Roman Centurion risked (Acts 10 and 11) to know more of God and his Son Jesus – to become, with his family and household – baptized.
For a Roman citizen to become baptized into Christ – Risked his very own Life!
We need to seriously, severely consider what it means to “utterly renouncing” our most valuable possessions which are the very highest personal value to us.
Matthew 16:24-27Amplified Bible
Discipleship Is Costly
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests] and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each one in accordance with what he has done.
Risking all of the relationships we have made – risking literally everything we have, everything we are for those whom we do not know – who knows where.
In other words, to follow Jesus, we need to put him absolutely first in our lives.
We need to be willing to put aside everything else we have to be his disciples.
And we need to stick to our decisions and defend our decisions, no matter what. There is absolutely no turning back regardless of how our fortunes may change.
Luke 9:58-62Amplified Bible
58 And Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” 59 He said to another, “Follow Me [accepting Me as Master and Teacher].” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and [a]bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and spread the news about the kingdom of God.” 61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Some decisions like these are not particularly hard to make – it comes naturally to them because it is what their mothers and Fathers did, how they were raised.
Proverbs 22:6Amplified Bible
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents],
Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
It is “an old family tradition” because Grand Ma, Grand Pa first set the example.
2 Timothy 1:5-6Amplified Bible
5 I remember your sincere and unqualified faith [the surrendering of your entire self to God in Christ with confident trust in His power, wisdom and goodness, a faith] which first lived in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am confident that it is in you as well. 6 That is why I remind you to [a]fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire—the special endowment] which is in you through the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination].
Still others, need to learn what it means to utterly renounce their former selves.
Levi – the very much hated Tax Collector who became Matthew.
Wee little Zacchaeus – to climb the Sycamore tree, stop defrauding the people.
The several time divorced Samaritan Woman at the well ……
The Tax Collectors who sat and shared a meal with Jesus ……
The Uncurable, Untouchable Lepers ……
The Uncurable, Untouchable Woman with the Issue of Blood ……
The Severely Mentally Ill – the chained one whole villages named “Legion.”
The Prostitute everyone was willing to stone and sacrifice to “entrap Jesus.”
The Rich Young Ruler who was told to sell literally every possession he had.
The Blind Bartimaeus ……
The Crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda who had been trying for thirty-seven years for someone to place him in the healing waters, but instead, pushed aside.
The man, crippled from birth, for whom four men cut a hole through the roof, to lower him down and into the presence of Jesus and glaring eyes of people.
A crippled man, lame from his mother’s womb, unable to walk, who was carried by his friends every day to the Temple gate called “beautiful” to beg alms and expect only alms but who we read instead encountered both Peter and John –
Acts 3:1-10Amplified Bible
Healing the Lame Beggar
3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), 2 and a man who had been unable to walk from birth was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at that gate of the temple which is called [a]Beautiful, so that he could beg alms from those entering the temple. 3 So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking [them] for coins. 4 But Peter, along with John, stared at him intently and said, “Look at us!” 5 And the man began to pay attention to them, eagerly expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have I give to you: In the name (authority, power) of Jesus Christ the Nazarene— [begin now to] walk and go on walking!” 7 Then he seized the man’s right hand with a firm grip and raised him up. And at once his feet and ankles became strong and steady, 8 and with a leap he stood up and began to walk; and he went into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they recognized him as the very man who usually sat begging for coins at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement and were mystified at what had happened to him.
Even Great Leaders of the Temple – Named Nicodemus ……
Joseph of Arimathea ……
A blinded Master Pharisee, Master Zealot Saul who became the Apostle Paul.
Needed to know what would mean to literally renounce everything for Jesus.
Friends, making the choice, making the decision, following Jesus with quite literally everything I have has cost me much more than I can admit to here.
Sacrifices of my-self for the sake of my health, my dreams, my hopes, my home, my wife, my family, my Savior and His Kingdom have been serious.
Yet there is so much more – God only knows – which must be renounced but I have not the courage or the full and unwavering faith and trust in God to do.
I have much to learn and many areas of my life which require “crucifixion.”
It’s that part of my life where I have to confront those who might ridicule me, bully me, laugh at me, betray me, or may just try to do even worse than those.
To achieve an abundance of life which the Apostle Paul described as ……
Galatians 2:20-21Amplified Bible
20 I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”
Not that Paul ever expected to achieve it while he was alive – but he made it his one day-to-day goal to “steadfastly and immovably,” to “faithfully” strive for.
But, one day, rest assured, nothing will separate me from the love of my Savior.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Lord Jesus Christ, Author of my life, Perfector of my faith, when I am confused about what I should do, give me wisdom and understanding. Show me your ways. When I don’t know what to do, would you send your Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts, words and deeds. May the word of Christ dwell in me richly, teaching me in all wisdom. May I live with thankfulness in my heart to God. Whatever I do, in word or deed, may I do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Gloria! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.