Reflection on the Gospel of Luke 14: 25-2-33, Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: September 4, 2022

Gospel of Luke 14:25-33

Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “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. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 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? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 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? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

Note: We find with relief, that “hate” here is a Semitic idiom. It refers not to negative emotion, but to preference.

Let us Pray: Gracious Father, teach us what true discipleship is. By your Spirit, give us the faith and steadfastness to bear its cost. Thank you for so clearly setting before us the way of blessing and curse, of life and death. Thank you for the grace to choose the life you offer through the death and resurrection of your Son. This we pray in your Name, Amen.

Luke 14:25-33 is entitled, “The Cost of Discipleship,” and for good reason because Jesus took faith and commitment to another level. He requires complete devotion from us, which means we cannot elevate ourselves or our immediate family above Him. Rather, we must prioritize our relationship with Him first and foremost. How much does it cost?  It is a familiar question we have all asked at some time in our lives.  Whether it’s a product or a service we want, in the grocery store, at the car dealer, a new business deal or a new home, the bottom line is that we need to know the cost.  After we discover the price we check our pockets and consider our resources and ask ourselves an even more important question: “Can I afford it”.  “Can I afford it” or Can I not afford it?

Jesus demands our heart’s full devotion as His only requirement for paying our eternal debt. A full 100% of our heart, which is difficult for us to relinquish because it means we must reprioritize our lives to align with Scripture’s teachings, and we struggle with surrender and submission because we want to be in ultimate control of our lives. So, who wants to be a disciple of Jesus? He certainly doesn’t pull any punches about what it takes

So, whether it be our loved ones, our finances, our time, our security, or our comfortability, we must guard against serving any false idol if we profess ourselves as devout followers of Jesus Christ and not merely self-proclaimed Christians. He is to be the primary love in our lives. That doesn’t mean that we will love others less, including the members of our family. Rather, if the Lord is the first love in our lives, then our natural loves will be enhanced; we will be empowered to love others in the way the Lord loves them. When we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we will be caught up into the Lord’s love for others. The more we give ourselves to the Lord, the freer we are to give ourselves to others in the way the Lord gives himself to them. Jesus is asking us to do and be what he did and who he was. That’s what a disciple is. A disciple is a learner, one who learns to live, act, speak, and think like the teacher. The disciple integrates the teacher’s life and teachings into his or her own life. Then Jesus says that any disciple of his must be ready to carry his Cross. Throughout the gospels Jesus assures us that if we respond to his call, all embracing as it is, we will receive from the Lord far more than we give him. True disciples do what Jesus did, and care about the things Jesus cares about. Are you willing to commit to a life of following Jesus? Can you leave behind the things that matter most to you, and make the things that matter most to God your highest priority? The cost is great, but the cost of non-discipleship is even greater. The choice is yours. What’s it worth to you, to follow Jesus?

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