Year C – Proper 18 – Luke 14:25-33

Luke 14:25–33 – Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see 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 will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

Summary – These words in red, of Jesus, are some of the most challenging in the Bible. Christ demands complete allegiance and discipleship. It is put in strong language that is certainly an overstatement (hyperboly): “hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple….give up all your possessions.” This passage tells us to “estimate the cost” or in more familiar language, “count the cost” (v28) of following Jesus. We must give up everything that keeps us from following Jesus.

Insight – Following Jesus does not always mean immediate blessings to family, possessions and personal esteem. We must count the cost of what may be lost is this pursuit. We may lose family. We may lose possessions. We may lose respect and esteem from others. Particularly in those times (such as the first century) when following Jesus was not understood and in fact many of those first century followers were harshly persecuted (by family members and religious kinsmen like Saul of Tarsus) and many were martyred. Yes we must be willing to love Jesus and obey Him so much more than our natural relationships of spouse, parents, children, that our love for them may be comparably “hate.” On the other hand, most of Christians today in following Christ, need to do so by loving “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself.” It is by submitting to a Christian parent, by sacrificially loving a discontent wife, by leading our children spiritually and continually, and patiently caring for brothers and sisters – that is exactly what it means for many of us to follow Christ.

Catechism – What does it mean to “count the cost”? We must give up everything that keeps us from following Jesus.
Discussion – What kinds of things in your life keep you from following Jesus completely? What one thing could you have done differently today that would have helped you express your love for Christ better?Prayer – Heavenly Father, we thank you for your continued mercy on us, weak disciples of Jesus, for we have failed to count the cost of following Him. Grant that we who love too much the things that are of no eternal value, may set our love more and more upon our Savior, so that all of our other relationships may glorify Him who bore the cross for us. In Jesus Name.