Summary: The call to discipleship demands everything of us and gives us all of God in return.
Dare to Be a Disciple – Luke 141:26-33
In 3 Sundays, on June 8, we will be having a baptism service. I wanted to talk about what that means, so that if any of you are interested in being baptized, you might have a clear idea of what it’s all about.
Let me ask...who is baptism for? Who is it that gets baptised?
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So baptism is for disciples, people who have come to Jesus, repented of their sins, believed that He died for their sins and received Jesus as Lord.
When we become a Christian, we become a follower of Jesus Christ.
And the way that we follow Jesus, for our whole lives, is as students of Him, learning to be like Him, growing in the knowledge of God.
‘Student’ is the more common english word for disciple. But there’s more than just being a student of Jesus to following Jesus.
So the command of Jesus, given in Matthew 28, is for people who are disciples to become makers of disciples: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”. And an important part of being a disciple is obedience.
We are genuine students when we follow the teaching of the teacher, in this case, Jesus.
For much of my life I was a student of music teachers. They would teach me how to play an instrument, and I would go home and completely ignore everything they taught me and ‘do it my way’.
That’s how I became proficient on my instruments. Is that what it means to be a student?
No, a student learns from his teacher. Often a teacher is a master of whatever he or she is teaching.
So much so that they deserve to be called a ‘master’. I grew in my abilities on various instruments in direct proportion to how much I listened and learned and applied what I was learning.
I was very eager to learn how to play - I was a serious student. So I learned. I practiced. I threw myself into music studies.
I tried to mimic my teachers, to copy how they played and more so...how they thought about music.
Do we grow in the knowledge of God by coming to church only? Do we grow in holiness, in being like Jesus, by putting on our Sunday best and showing up week after week? Nope. There is much, much more to it.
Today’s passage is intense. It needs to be unpacked for sure, but we need to be careful to not dismiss it, because I believe there is much to mine about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. I thought we would look at verse by verse in an expositional study.
26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
The first thing that Jesus speaks of here is that it is necessary for a disciple to go through a reorienting of our loves.
He uses strong language, obviously; it’s not often that Jesus uses language like this, so when He does, he should pay attention.
And while we obviously run into trouble if we take it too literally, we need to take it seriously to not lose the force of what He is saying.
My response when I first read this was: “Whaaat? Whaaaaaat?!?”
I won’t go through all the various responses we can have to a text like this, particularly when you’re, as I was, not yet familiar with the rest of Scripture, but I will say that Jesus challenges his students here to realign their affections, and their priorities in terms of even family love and devotion.
I see this as Jesus expanding on something He said a few chapters earlier in the book of Luke, when He was being tested by the pharisees who asked Him about what the greatest commandment was.
He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
We hear that a lot in church, and anything you hear a lot can lead to not really listening to what is being said.
This commandment asks of us something that, if we don’t examine our heart pretty regularly, we can find ourselves falling very much short of.