I remember getting my first apartment and thinking that it was just as easy as having a job and paying rent. I recall sitting down with the apartment owner and going through this document that was known as a lease. This lengthy document had a long list of guidelines that we needed to abide, and fees that we would have to pay while renting the apartment. This seemingly simple decision was much more complex than originally contemplated. After reading the lease and considering the cost, I signed the lease for my first apartment and paid the price for abiding in that home.
In Luke 14:25-35 we find Jesus followed by a large crowd, he had just finished teaching the crowd about The Great Banquet and how all are welcome to join in this gathering if they accept the invitation. The crowd of followers were soaking up Jesus’ teaching and marveling at the miraculous acts that Jesus was performing. Jesus, knowing their hearts, takes the opportunity to put forth a challenge. Much like a head coach in the locker room of his team giving the charge to suck it up and play the game till victory, the coaches goal is to get the team to move past the score but to see the big picture, to pay the price for victory. Jesus, not trying to discourage those followers says “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters–yes, even one’s own self!–can’t be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26, the Message). In some translations unlike this paraphrase he uses the word “hate” to drive home the point of a heart that is abandoned, sold out, sacrificed to God. He wanted his follower to be clear minded and to know that it would not be an easy road, a light hearted decision would not suffice. Many of those following who believed Jesus was the prophesied Messiah expected a golden age of prosperity for the nation. Jesus’ charge was one that would have burst the bubble and brought forth a more realistic perspective. His charge to us is that if we make the decision to be a disciple, we must follow his teachings and apply it to our life daily.
Jesus uses three parables to drive home his point. The first was the building of a tower, in it we learn that it would be foolish for a builder to build a tower without counting the cost. All would know that they began the process but could not finish the project. Jesus is discouraging people from following those who have their own assumptions of what the kingdom of God was.
The second parable drives home the point again that a king would not go to war without first contemplating his military force and resource versus that of another country. Jesus with this example is once again encouraging the listener to examine their motive for following.
The last parable is that of salt, once salt loses its value it isn’t worth anything.
Jesus speaking to the crowd and to us today delivers a practical and life changing message. Jesus knew that difficulty would come to the Christ follower. These pressures and temptations could bring doubt rather than faith. So his first lesson for the Christ follower is: where are your affections and are you sold out and committed to Jesus? Guard your hearts and minds from things that would detour, bring distraction, and disease to your relationship with God.
Have you considered it? Have you evaluated your life? What are you truly committed to and sold out to? Christ followers are people who must ponder, consider, contemplate, deliberate, and weigh out the cost of following Jesus.