Summary: Jesus requires total commitment and singularity of focus from his followers.
Good morning everyone. Welcome to Church. I trust that you had a wonderful Christmas celebration with your families, friends, and loved ones. I also hope that you took that time to have a meaningful conversation with them about the essence of Jesus’ birth, his peace, his joy, his love, his forgiveness, and everything that we represent as children of God. Aside from very hot weather this week, the whole nation went into another frenzy with Boxing Day sale happening across the country and still is in most shopping centers. I had a workmate in Medicare before, as a tradition, she would go to Boxing Day sale in the city year after year. She used to tell us what she got and how much she saved, or how much it cost her shopping spree. She said she would queue very early on 26th of Dec and the quest is to get as much sale items as possible. And that’s fair enough coz, not many want to pay full price for anything these days. In a way, the majority of us, if not all are sale fanatics. Like my former workmate, we wait for the right time to buy. We see this trend in real estate, airfares, holiday trips and packages. We set a Price DROP alert of our favorite airline websites, travel agencies, and so on.
You may or may not agree IF I SAY THAT COST IS ONE OF THE MAJOR DECIDING FACTOR in buying stuff and in making decisions in almost all matters of life. The idea is to get the most with less. SOMETIMES, we apply the same concept of more with less EVEN IN Matters of the Spirit.
We will discover in our text this morning that Jesus thinks otherwise; that he was not a supporter of such mindset and attitude that we can observe in these days and age. Luke’s account of Jesus’ teaching and position on the cost of following Him is in C14:25-31. Parallel in Matt 10:37-38. Let us turn our Bible and read these passages before we pray.
We are confronted here with a scenario where it is hard to recognize the Jesus that we are familiar with. This is not the Jesus that is gentle, and meek, and loving. This Jesus sounds demanding and self-centered. This Jesus wants to turn us into religious fanatics.
v25 set the background for us. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, and a large crowd was following him. Going by heaven’s timeline, the time had come for Jesus to go to Jerusalem. If we go back to Luke 9:51, Luke wrote, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke indicates that Jesus was choosing to go to the place where he would give his life for the world that He loved. HE HAD COUNTED THE COST FOR HIS MISSION, AND HE WAS DETERMINED TO MOVE FORWARD AND MOVE AHEAD WITH IT. And the crowd had no clue that things were going to turn out ugly and messy for Him. And Jesus wanted to GIVE them time to reconsider their position and possibly, their motives. We can assume that their motivation to follow Jesus at that point could be anything from wanting his attention, or his healing touch, or his next miracle, or that he could save them from their Roman extortionists. We read in Luke 9:57-62 that on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus had three separate conversations with three different people.
V57 -58 A VERY EAGER MAN - “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied - “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” If you realize that I have nothing from this world, do you still want to follow me? (Mine added)
V59-60 A HESITANT MAN - Jesus said to another man, “follow me” but then the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus replied, “Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
V61-62 another HESITANT man - Lord “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God, Jesus replied.
When Jesus heard these responses, Jesus knew it was necessary for him to clarify this important point. So he faced the large crowds who were following him. “Let me help you get it right, it seems you want to be my disciples/students/followers, but do you realize how much it would cost you?
Luke 14:26 - Hate your Mother/wife/children/brothers/sisters
Hate even life itself. And only then will you be ready to take up your cross and follow Jesus.