Sunday 05 September 2010

Bible Book:

"Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple ... None of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." (v.26-27, 33)

Luke 14:25-33 Sunday 5 September 2010


Luke's Gospel is distinctive for having a long section (whichbegins at 9:51 and continues through to chapter 19) on the journeyof Jesus, from his period of popular ministry in Galilee to hissufferings and death in Jerusalem.

Jesus' earlier success in drawing people to him is indicated inverse 25 by the reference to large crowds travelling with him. Butthis is the time to whittle them down into those who are really upto the challenge of being disciples. This passage is about peoplemaking the transition from coming "to" Jesus (verse 26) andfollowing him, or more literally coming 'after' him (verse27).

The idea that we cannot be disciples of Jesus unless we hate ourclosest family is not quite as harsh as it sounds. Whereas we todaywould speak of loving more or loving less, the Aramaic languagethat Jesus spoke used love and hate to make the same contrast. Sothe idea is that following Jesus must take priority over familycommitments, which might sometimes need to be put aside. In someChurch traditions people have heard the call to discipleship asentailing for them a decision not to marry or have children.

Those condemned to crucifixion under the Romans were expected tocarry their own cross to the place of execution (although Jesus,after flogging, needed help - see Luke23:26), so verse 27 makes clear that to truly follow Jesus maycost some disciples their lives.

Jesus then stresses the importance of what we might now call aproper risk analysis before signing on as his disciple. Heillustrates it with two examples of starting but not being able tofinish. The word translated "tower" in verse 28 could refer to alarge farm building rather than the kind of proud folly that wemight imagine. With both illustrations it is the 'sitting downfirst' and making an informed decision that is important.

To Ponder

What experience have you had of doing somethingand later wishing you'd sat down first and thought through therisks involved?

How would you respond to the claim that Christianevangelists today make it sound too easy to become a disciple ofJesus, and people would be more likely to take the message to heartif the cost of doing so was presented more seriously?

What circumstances can you envisage where itmight be necessary to put your family second in order to befaithful to Jesus?

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