Following, or not following Jesus; both have consequences
Crowds of many people were travelling with Jesus on his journey. So he turned and said to them, ‘If someone wants to come to me (wants to obey me), he must live like this:
▪︎ He must love me more than he loves his own father and mother.
▪︎ He must love me more than he loves his wife and his children.
▪︎ He must love me more than he loves his brothers and his sisters.
▪︎ He must even love me more than he loves himself.
If he does not do that, he cannot be one of my disciples.
He must live like a person that carries his own cross, to go and die. If he is not ready to die for me, he cannot be one of my disciples.
Here is an example. Perhaps one of you wants to build a tall building (a tower). Before you start to build, you will sit down. You will decide how much it will cost. Then you need to know if you have enough money to finish the work. If you do not do this, you may not have enough money. You may put the first stones in the ground, but then you cannot finish the building. If you have to stop, other people will laugh at you. They will say to each other, “That man is a fool. He started to build, but he could not finish the work.” ’
Then Jesus gave them another example. ‘Perhaps a king wants to fight a war against another king. But before he goes to fight, he sits down. He thinks to himself. “Can I win this war? My army is large, with 10,000 men. But the other king has twice as many soldiers in his army. No, I cannot do it. I know I cannot beat the other king.” So, while the stronger king is far away, he will send a man to him with a message. He will tell the other king that he does not want to fight. He will ask him what he can do so that they become friends together.’
Jesus then said, ‘It is like that for all of you, if you want to be my disciples . You must leave everything that you have behind you. Remember this. Salt is good. But if it is not salty any more, it is no longer any good. You cannot make it salty again. You would not even put it on your field. It cannot make the soil good. And it is not suitable for the manure pile either. You would just throw it away. You have ears. So, listen well to what I say.’
Following Jesus has a price tag.
People were deeply impressed by Who Jesus is and by his actions.
What He said was full of love, and what He did was great.
Everyone wanted to follow Him
Luke 14:25 KJV
And there went great multitudes with him
But Jesus thinks very differently.
Do they realize what it means to follow Him?
What profound consequences it may have?
In a radical way, Christ makes it clear that as his followers, we should hate our father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, even our own lives
Luke 14:26-27 KJV
If any man come to me, and hate not
his father, and mother, and wife, and children,
and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also,
he cannot be my disciple.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross,
and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Hating does not mean that we should not love them, divorce them, or commit spiritual suicide. We should understand ‘hate’ in the sense of ‘love less than’, ‘put it at the disadvantage of’. So it means that Jesus must take first place over everything. The love we have for the Christ must be number one in our life.
Hence it is that many martyrs for the sake of Jesus have been able to say goodbye to their family and their own lives. Love for Christ goes to the very extreme. We see that also today with Christian martyrs from all parts of the world, although they are cast out, they do not deny Christ.
One of the worst things in following Jesus is that halfway through – because of all kinds of effort, care, suffering and struggle – we are throwing our weight aside. If we want to follow Him, we must first do what we do in ordinary life: calculate the costs and think things through. So we will not halfway throw of the cross, because we started to see it as only a burden.
Luke 14:28-33 KJV
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
It can cost us all. Much more than we think possible.
But if we say A, then we also have to say B: otherwise we had better not start.
Before we start thinking about it, it is necessary for us to consider the consequences of the decision to follow Jesus, compared to the consequences of not following Him; and so be prepared for all kinds of consequences.
For suffering, for Christ’s sake, may be or become very severe (Compare Acts 7:54-60; See also John 15:18-21; Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).
Anyone who is not willing to make sacrifices, in principle cannot be Jesus’ follower.
Jesus needs faithful, persistent, and powerful disciples.
Otherwise it is just like with salt. If that loses its strength, you better throw it away
Luke 14:34-35 KJV
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill (manure pile); but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Know what you are doing!