Summary: Being a disciple of Jesus is a matter of a takeover, not a makeover
Over the last decade or so, makeover TV shows have become one of the most popular genres of programs. Among the most popular and influential of these programs are:
• Extreme Makeover – began airing in 2002. Individuals volunteered to receive an extensive makeover involving plastic surgery, hairdressing and wardrobe.
• Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – a spinoff of Extreme Makeover in which families facing some kind of hardship had their homes remodeled or replaced
• Biggest Loser. Overweight contestants go through a diet and exercise routine in order to see who can lose the most weight.
• Restaurant Impossible. Robert Irvine helps failing restaurants to turn things around with a two day makeover of their facilities and their menu.
I often wonder whether these kinds of programs influence our ideas about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. And I think in some cases, the church has been guilty of peddling Christianity as nothing more than a means of making over one or more aspects of our lives:
• Having problems in your marriage? Then just come to Jesus and let Him makeover your marriage.
• Having problems with your kids? Then just come to Jesus and let Him makeover your parenting skills.
• Having problems with your finances? Then just come to Jesus and let Him makeover your finances.
• Having problems in your job? Then just come to Jesus and let Him makeover your work.
While it is undoubtedly true that becoming a disciple of Jesus will result in a makeover of every area of our lives, the problem with that particular approach is that it is completely focused on what I can get out of the relationship. But as we saw the last two weeks as we began our study of the Hard Sayings of Jesus, and as we’ll see again this morning:
Being a disciple of Jesus
is a matter of a takeover, not a makeover
Keep that idea in mind as we examine the third hard saying of Jesus that we’ll be covering in this series. We find that hard saying in Luke chapter 14:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:26 ESV)
I don’t know about you, but my first reaction to that saying is to think it can’t possibly be something Jesus said because it seems to contradict what we’ve been taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. After all aren’t we taught:
• to honor our fathers and mothers? That is the fifth of the Ten Commandments and Paul says the same thing again in Ephesians 6.
• to love our wives? God established marriage in Genesis and Paul specifically commands us to love our wives in Ephesians 5.
• to love our neighbors and even our enemies? That’s what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount and yet here He tells us we need to hate our children, brothers and sisters?
Obviously before we wrongly conclude that Jesus is somehow contradicting what we find elsewhere in the Word of God, we need to look at what Jesus said here in context. So let’s go back and begin reading in verse 25 and read through verse 33:
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:25-33 ESV)
The purpose of Jesus’ words
The key to understanding this passage is to determine the overall purpose of Jesus’ words here. I’m going to enlist your help here. Look at the end of verse 26, verse 27 and verse 33. What is the common phrase that Jesus uses in each of those verses? [Wait for answers.] That’s correct: “he cannot be my disciple.” So would you agree that the overall purpose of Jesus here is…