7687 - Count the Cost


(Original script will not match edited audio completely)

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We are now in Luke 14. These events occur as Jesus is teaching in Perea, east of the Jordan. It is now about three months until the crucifixion.
Crowds came to hear Jesus and to be with Him. Jesus is saying to the people “count the cost of discipleship.”

Listen to Luke 14:25-35:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters --yes, even his own life --he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not 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, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. "Salt is good, but if it’s lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

Friend, Jesus Christ is the only source of fulfillment, joy, peace, love, and all those qualities, which the heart is designed to long for. Hungry hearts account for the great crowds of people who came to Jesus.

Jesus longed for these people to have more than knowledge. He wanted them to have the foundation for everlasting life.

What did Jesus mean that a person had to hate parents, their spouse and children, and family members in order to be his disciple?

It is thought that Jesus was using hyperbolic exaggeration to emphasize a point. We do know Jesus was not denying previous truths which he taught, such as one must honor his father and mother; and his command to his followers to love even their enemies.

The explanation of these words must lie in his emphasis that there must be no affection or loyalty above that reserved for Jesus Christ in the life of any disciple. Love for family members must be secondary to our love and allegiance for Jesus if we are to be his follower. Jesus expects our deepest devotion to be given to Him.

These thoughts are compatible to Jesus’ statement that we must carry our cross and follow him to qualify as a disciple. That phrase “carrying our cross” reflects the very act of Jesus. Just as Jesus was willing to carry His cross, if necessary, and be hung on it as the sacrifice for sin, we must be willing to carry our cross. This means we give up the freedom to do our will, in order to yield to the will of the Lord every day, whatever the cost. Following the will of the Lord Jesus must be our first priority each moment of life.

The idea of counting the cost is forcefully presented by Jesus in his teaching about building a tower. Even before a contractor starts the job he must have reasonable assurance that there are resources to complete the job. To do otherwise is folly.

The same is true in facing an invading army in a kingdom. The king certainly must have some confidence in his own forces before he joins in a war, even against a larger force.

Jesus caps the sermon by saying, “any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Jesus stipulates that he must have first place in the life of every disciple.

Although Jesus spoke directly to these people in Perea, He was also speaking to you and to me. We must commit to total loyalty.