Luke 14:33 – So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Massive crowds followed Jesus by this point in his ministry. The time had come to test the sincerity of their decision to follow. Some were following for the perks and benefits of Jesus’ miracles. Jesus presented several tests to challenge his followers to examine their motives.
First, Jesus expected their foremost love (14:26). Jesus does not want to be the first among many; he wants to be the only one. If Jesus was running a race to win your adoration, he is saying that he should be the only contender. The love you have for Jesus should not be able to compare with any other relationship. He isn’t downgrading your loved ones; he is magnifying his place in your life. Our love for Jesus must be distinct and dominant. Period. Jesus emphatically declared that those who did otherwise were not disciples.
Jesus continued to press upon the crowd as he challenged them to deny their self-centered desires and to accept God’s will (14:27). Self-denial and cross carrying are hallmarks of discipleship. The inward acceptance of God’s will through trust is demonstrated through the outward display of obedience to God’s word. Again, Jesus declared definitively that those who did otherwise were not disciples.
Jesus used two illustrations to make one point: disciples are people who are ready to pay the full cost of their allegiance to Jesus (14:28-35). The builder must count the cost of his commitment and fund the entire project or else experience shame when he was mocked for his deficiency.
The king surrendered that which was meaningless to gain that which was momentous. His vain pride was meaningless, recognizing that the precious lives of his soldiers warranted the invaluable security of peace.
Disciples are those who make sacrificial plans to support the message and mission of Jesus Christ. Disciples recognize that pride prevents dedication to sharing the gospel of peace (Romans 5:1). They sacrifice the short-lived victories of this world in order to help others obtain peace with God. Sacrificing pride to advance God’s peace is the greatest victory!
We must also be willing to give up everything we have in this world (14:33). Jesus’ audience had done just that. We, too, must give up the temporary to gain the eternal (Mark 8:35). Some have left well-paying careers and well-to-do lifestyles in order to seize the opportunity to serve God. Some have given up possessions, entertainment, comforts, and security in order to support the mission and the message of Jesus Christ. Without these characteristics, disciples do not have usefulness for the eternal endeavors of the kingdom (14:34-35).
These characteristics are developed only when a disciple makes Jesus his foremost love, denies his selfish desires, trusts and obeys God’s will, and willingly plans to pay the cost of such commitment.
Can you be a disciple of Jesus? Have you counted the cost? Are you willing to pay it? Whatever you think it may cost you, Jesus assures you that he is worth it!
Daily Reading: Luke 14:25-35
Bible Reading Challenge: 10 Days on Discipleship