Summary: The analysis of following Jesus in Luke 14:25-35 shows us what is involved in following Jesus.
On his journey to Jerusalem from Galilee, Jesus often engaged in controversy with the Jewish leadership, most often the Pharisees (cf. Luke 11:37-54; 13:31-14:24). But now in Luke 14:25, Jesus returns to address the crowds. In doing so, he clarified what is involved in following him. That is, Jesus stated in clear, bold, and very startling terms the cost of discipleship.
Let’s read about the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:25-35:
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 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? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35)
We live in a culture that has substituted the true gospel with a consumer-friendly counterfeit gospel. John MacArthur articulates it this way in his book titled, Hard to Believe:
The first role of successful merchandising is to give consumers what they want. If they want bigger burgers, make their burgers bigger. Designer bottled water in six fruit flavors? Done. Minivans with ten cup holders? Give them twenty. You’ve got to keep the customer satisfied. You’ve got to modify your product and your message to meet their needs if you want to build a market and get ahead of the competition.
Today this same consumer mind-set has invaded Christianity. The church service is too long, you say? We’ll shorten it (one pastor guarantees his sermons will never last more than seven minutes!). Too formal? Wear your sweatsuit. Too boring? Wait’ll you hear our band!
And if the message is too confrontational, or too judgmental, or too exclusive, scary, unbelievable, hard to understand, or too much anything else for your taste, churches everywhere are eager to adjust that message to make you more comfortable. This new version of Christianity makes you a partner on the team, a design consultant on church life, and does away with old-fashioned authority, guilt trips, accountability, and moral absolutes.
One suburban church sent out a mailer recently, promising an “informal, relaxed, casual atmosphere,” “great music from our band,” and that those who come will, “believe it or not, even have fun.” That’s all great if you’re a coffee house. But anyone who claims to be calling people to the gospel of Jesus with those as his priorities is calling them to a lie.
It’s Christianity for consumers: Christianity Lite, the redirection, watering down, and misinterpretation of the biblical gospel in an attempt to make it more palatable and popular. It tastes great going down and settles light. It seems to salve your feelings and scratch your itch; it’s custom-tailored to your preferences. But that lightness will never fill you up with the true, saving gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is designed by man and not God, and it is hollow and worthless. In fact, it’s worse than worthless, because people who hear the message of Christianity Lite think they’re hearing the gospel – think they’re being rescued from eternal judgment – when, in fact, they’re being tragically misled.
In contrast to the consumer-friendly counterfeit gospel of today, Jesus actually made it clear that following him would not be easy. He was up-front about what was involved in following him. He did not want disillusioned disciples. And so he clarified the cost of discipleship.
The analysis of following Jesus in Luke 14:25-35 shows us what is involved in following Jesus.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. To Follow Jesus You Must Hate Your Family (14:25-26)
2. To Follow Jesus You Must Carry Your Cross (14:27)