Summary: I do not write out complete manuscripts. This is a sermon brief/outline that I hope will help in your study and preparation. Main Point: Allegiance to Jesus above all others
I grew up in Atlanta, GA during the 70’s. We had four professional sports teams: the Braves in baseball, Falcons in football, Hawks in basketball and Flames in hockey. The combined records of our local teams were so abysmal, that I remember Sports Illustrated magazine writing an article about the Atlanta professional sports scene and the title of the article was “Loserville, USA.”
My young friends and I loved our Braves, Falcons, Hawks, and Flames; but since they were so bad, each of us also adopted a “good” team to follow as well. For me that meant in baseball I pulled for our local Braves and the “Big Red Machine” of Cincinnati with Pete Rose and Johnny Bench. In addition to the Falcons, I pulled for Roger Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys. Along with the Hawks, I was a fan of the Boston Celtics with John Havlicek and JoJo White.
For the most part, this worked well. I pulled for the hometown losers but found heart in also pulling for some remarkable champions. The only problem came when my two favorite teams played each other. At that point, I would find myself dually aligned and confused as to who to pull for.
We’re in a series, “Say What?!” And we are taking a look at some of the head-scratching statements of Jesus. Today, we are looking at Jesus’ statement concerning his followers being dually aligned. In Luke14:26, he makes one of his most shocking statements;
Luke 14:26, “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.”
What is Jesus saying here? At first glance, this sounds like a CULT! The notion of hating your parents and family smacks of Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Charles Manson. It also sounds like a CONTRADICTION. Didn’t Jesus say in other places that we were to honor our father and mother? After all, this is one of the “Top 10” commandents.
In order to get the full picture of what Jesus is saying, let’s walk through Luke 14:25-35.
Luke 14:25-35, Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,
The crowds that followed Jesus can be compared to consumers today. Their basic question as they followed was, “what’s in it for me?” They had heard of Jesus’ free lunch program, his traveling miracle show and his healing of the sick. Jesus was popular and entertaining, and just like a winning sports team, he had his share of people riding the bandwagon.
The temptation we face when we have a crowd is to appease the crowd. We are tempted to tell them what they want to hear and give them the show they are looking for. Like a politician seeking votes, there is a temptation to make promises that we know we cannot keep.
But Jesus did just the opposite. Instead of playing to the crowd, he CHALLENGED the crowd:
Luke 14:26-27, “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.”
A disciple was more than just a student. A disciple was a follower who was seeking to pattern his life after his teacher. That’s why Jesus said, in Luke 6:40, “ A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Many today seem to think that being a disciple means simply knowing more about Jesus, the Bible, and the ways of God. However, discipleship isn’t about just KNOWING more, but about BEING more. A fully trained disciple will BE LIKE the one he is following.
Concerning this, Jesus lays down the priority of following him. Following Jesus means our allegiance to Him must be above our allegiance to FAMILY. Facing rejection because of one’s decision to follow Jesus was a real possibility in Jesus’ day, and is very likely in many places of the world today. Here in America, while many homes claim to be “Christian,” when a family member begins to truly follow Christ and live the kind of radical life he calls us to live, they can find themselves questioned and ridiculed. If our allegiance to Christ is not above that of our family, we’ll shrink back.
In too many places, our church culture has become one of easy believism. We want just ENOUGH Jesus to keep us from HELL, but not SO MUCH Jesus as to be INCONVENIENCED.
Jesus also calls those of us who follow him to an allegiance to him before SELF. “Take up your cross and follow me,” means DEATH to self. According to Jesus, there is no place for casual Christianity.