Summary: What does it take to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What does it mean to take up your cross and follow Him. It may be different than you think.
Two of the major reasons marriages fail are 1) a failure to leave or 2) a failure to cleave. If a husband or wife is so burdened by their family of origin, or are literally shackled by their parents and unable to form a new life with their husband, the marriage is in jeopardy. Or if they leave their parents control but do not remain faithful to their spouse, the marriage is in serious trouble. Extra marital affairs remain the biggest cause for divorce.
How does this relate to Luke 14? God often referred to his relationship with Israel as a husband and wife. The church is described in Revelation as the "Bride of Christ." When you give your life to Jesus Christ you are in a very real sense marrying Him. Right now it is more of a betrothal. He’ll come back soon for our marriage feast. But betrothal carries the same legal requirement of faithfulness.
So coming to Jesus has a cost that every man and woman has to weigh when they contemplate marriage. Are they willing to break ties with their parents and family and are they willing to create lasting and legal ties with one other person?
There’s a cost of where you are coming from a cost to where you are going.
Verse 26 Leaving
Point 1: The word order in the Greek of verse 26 means that it isn’t just someone walking up to Jesus - but someone that is coming with the purpose of being a disciple. Just hanging around Jesus does nothing for you unless you purpose in your heart to serve and love Him.
Verse 26 is not saying that we should hate everyone around us-but in comparison to our love and devotion to God our love for others should seem like hate. It’s called a Semitic Hyperbole - an obvious exaggeration to make a point. Proverbs 13:24 has one: "Whoever spares the rod hates his son."
You have to be willing to leave it all behind-wealth, fame, position, honor, yes, even family-whatever holds you, whatever controls you-and give yourself wholly and completely to God. Jesus has to be in first place in your life or He wants no place in your life. Remember the 1st Commandment (Exodus 20) "You shall have no other gods before Me."
Now that doesn’t mean we will be perfect in our devotion at all times. But if Jesus calls us to a choice-which will we choose? If our Mom or Dad says "don’t follow Jesus anymore" will we listen to them or follow Jesus? If, heaven forbid, we face a life or death decision based on our belief in Jesus which will we choose?
Verse 27 Cleaving
Again Jesus uses the imagery of "bear your cross" which would have seemed really strange to the audience-take a thing used in Roman execution, a tool of shame, and make it your own? In fact, the imagery would have been all too familiar. The Romans made people pick up and carry their own means of execution. It meant submitting to Rome and a warning for all those who would not submit.
But the cross is a reminder of many things-that we deserve to die a death of shame for we are guilty-a reminder that someone else chose willingly to stand in our place on that cross and that we owe everything, and I do mean everything, to Him.
What happened at the cross?
Our debt to God for our sin was nailed to it and cancelled (Colossian 2:14)
We have peace with God (Colossians 1:20)
We are reconciled to God and His hostility towards us ended (Ephesians 2:16)
So are we willing to take up, not the cross of Rome, but the cross of Christ? Are we willing to be in submission to Him, and to actually die with Him on that cross?
Verses 28 - 30 Counting the Cost
I think the part here about counting the cost is important. It is no light thing that Jesus is asking us to do.
So we need to consider the cost in following Him. Jesus says in verse 30 that we are "renounce" all that we have." Renounce literally means "to say goodbye" or "to take leave of" and a form of the word is used to describe a religious apostasy, which is a falling away from faith. So we need to have a "falling away" from sin and the world and our life in order to follow Him.
He knows how much we have invested in our selves and our world. He knows how seductive the pleasures of sin can be, and the hold that the love of money has on us. But He won’t accept half-hearted commitments. It is all or nothing. Now, does that mean unless we are perfect in our devotion to Him He will reject us? No. But once you sincerely and from your heart join up with Jesus there is no turning back. He will then begin to remake you from the inside out to make you perfect in your devotion to Him.