November 3, 2021 - The Cost of Discipleship - A Reflection on Luke 14:25-33

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gave us what is known as the Great Commission. "Go and make disciples of all nations," he commanded, "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." But to make disciples, we first need to be disciples ourselves. What are the qualifications for that? 

Jesus spoke about what it takes to be a disciple, using the specific term six times in Scripture. We find three of them in this passage. One: He says, "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." (Luke 14:26). What does he mean? He means we need to make Jesus Numero Uno in our lives; nobody else gets priority. 

Two: He says. "So, therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions" (Luke 14:33). Just as we are told not to give ANYONE priority over Jesus, we are not to give ANYTHING priority over him either. Three: Jesus says, "Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). This isn't carrying life's burdens; this is death. We need to die to our "self" daily. 

Four: Jesus says, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31-32). To continue in his word, we need to know his word, yes? This means we read the Bible and do the things that Jesus asks us to do. Five: Jesus says, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples" (John 15:7-8). 

We need to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. And six: Jesus says, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). We need to love one another as Jesus loves us. That's with a love that is accepting, forgiving, and self-sacrificing. 

So, if you consider yourself a disciple of Christ, how well do you meet the qualifications?