Summary: This is a sermon on discipleship. The thesis is that discipleship demands total surrender that includes: 1.) loving Jesus above all else and 2.) carrying your cross.
Disciple or Just Part of the Crowd?—LUKE 14:25-33
Jesus appealed to large crowds of people. Today’s text in Luke 15 declares: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus.” Jesus appealed to the common masses of people. Time and again the Gospels make such announcements as:
“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them” (Mark 2:1-2)
In Mark 3:10 we see the crowds sometimes became pushy: “For He had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch Him.” We remember the story of the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. On that occasion Mark records: “A large crowd followed and pressed around Him” [Mark 5:24b].
Our Lord is compassionate towards the crowds as we see in Matthew 9:35-6, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Sometimes the crowds could press Jesus so much that even His own family had difficulty obtaining an audience with Him as is the case in Luke 8:19, “Now Jesus’ Mother and brothers came to see Him, but they were not able to get near Him because of the crowd.”
On Palm Sunday again the crowd was present to welcome King Jesus into Jerusalem as Matthew relates in Matthew 21:8-9, “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David.’
‘Blessed is He Who comes in the
name of the Lord!!’
‘Hosanna in the highest!’”
But crowds can quickly turn fickle, for by Good Friday things had changed so now Matthew reports: “But the chief priest and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.” So when Pilate asked, “‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all answered, ‘Crucify Him . . . . Let His blood be on us and on our children [Matthew 27:22-25].
It’s one thing to follow Jesus as part of the crowd. It’s any entirely different matter to be His disciple. Today the Holy Spirit confronts each one of us with this vital question: “Am I His Disciple or just part of the crowd?”
When we relate to Jesus as disciple to Master, it is the most intimate, personal relationship we can have with Him. Indeed Jesus calls those in the crowd to become disciples, for our text asserts: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said: ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife, and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he can not be My disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me can not be My disciple” [Luke 14:25-27]. WOW! Where could you find a more challenging invitation to Christian discipleship than these words of Jesus Himself?