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Count the Cost of Being Jesus' Disciple
February 14, 2022

Luke 14:26-33; Counting the Cost

The number of subscribers to this email has about doubled, so I know I need to do a better job of producing this weekly. I got help from friends making a list of important subjects to cover in this newsletter. We gathered about 15, so I am ready for the next few months.

Today's Bible study does not come from that list, but was laid on my heart by the Holy Spirit.

There are many "hard sayings" of Jesus, but none, I think, so hard as this passage. But just because it is hard does not mean we may ignore it.

VERSE 26

"If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple."

Obviously, Jesus cannot mean that we should not love our family. Honoring our father and mother is one of the 10 Commandments, and Paul repeated it in Ephesians 6. Jesus repeated it in Mark 7:9-13. It seems apparent to me that Jesus is telling us that only if our father, mother, wife, children, or siblings stand in the way of our following God, we must stand against them as though we hated them.

Here, though, is a very good place to let you know that you can access numerous Bible commentaries with a single search online: "Biblehub commentaries."

I typed in "Biblehub commentaries Luke 14 26" and I especially liked this comment there:

"It is not so much the true explanation to say that hate here means love less (Genesis 29:31), as to say that when our nearest and dearest relationships prove to be positive obstacles in coming to Christ, then all natural affections must be flung aside." (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

VERSE 27

"Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after me, can’t be my disciple."

Jesus said something very similar in Luke 9:23: we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him if we want to be his disciple. The cross is an instrument of execution. Jesus calls us to live as though we were on the way to our death, so much so that it would be like we were carrying the instrument of our death on our shoulders all the time.

Paul gives an excellent description of living like this in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me."

VERSES 28-32

In these verses Jesus compares our choice to follow him to a man choosing to build a tower and a king choosing to fight a superior army. The man and the king have to decide whether they have what it takes to build or fight. If they do not have the money or the skill in war, the man should not build, and the king must find a way to avoid the war.

Even so, in verses 26 and 27 Jesus has laid out the cost of being his disciple, and he calls us here to count the cost. In fact, in the next verse he puts that cost in the terms of money and goods.

VERSE 33

Jesus concludes his sermon, given to a huge crowd (v. 25), that the cost includes all their possessions.

How much do we want the benefits of being in Christ's kingdom? These include release from sin's power over us (Rom. 6:14), peace even when we're having troubles (Jn. 16:33, and joy that sustains us through life (Rom. 14:17). Above all, it includes immortality (eternal life).

Jesus believes those benefits are worth the cost of all our possessions. Obviously, this does not mean Jesus wants us naked and homeless. He himself wore clothes and sandals, and he went into many homes without telling people to sell those homes and live outside.

What Jesus means by his words in verses 26, 27, and 33 are well worth discussing in a Bible study.

Let us remember, though, that when a rich man refused to sell his possessions in order to receive eternal life, Jesus let him walk away sadly rather than try to call him back (Matt. 19:16-23). We must be patient with those who need time to consider the cost of following Jesus, but we must not reduce the cost. We have no right to do this. Our Lord and Savior set the cost. We can only be reporters of his words; we cannot change them.

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