3RD NOVEMBER 2021
Romans 13: 8‐10
Psalm 112: 1b‐2, 4‐5, 9
Luke 14: 25‐33
In the Gospel, Jesus addresses the multitude who have gathered around Him wanting to be His disciples. He tells His would‐be disciples that they must “hate” their mothers and fathers, wives and children, sisters and brothers. This includes being willing to carry one’s cross and follow Jesus. In saying this, Jesus challenges His listeners to make a relationship with Him and His Father the number one priority in their lives. God has to be the centre (hub) of our lives and everything else will be the spokes going out from the hub. Nothing, including family ties, can come before a relationship with the Lord Jesus and the Father and Holy Spirit. It means that one must be a “disciplined” disciple, and calculating in living out a call to follow Jesus. If one’s emotional ties get in the way of making a commitment to the Lord Jesus, then the ties must be broken. But if one focuses on the love of God, one will be a better and more loving son/daughter, mother/father, sibling to one’s blood relatives.
Let’s examine our cross, our cost and our sacrifice as disciples in our today’s gospel
1. Our Cross
Hate is a strong word. Love for human family and even self ought to seem like hate compared with our love for God. No earthly love can be allowed to become an idol replacing God. Discipleship is open to those willing to bear their cross, focusing on self‐sacrifice, not possessions.
Did Jesus contradict his command to love our neighbour as ourselves, even family? Is allegiance to him above that of family and self? In context, the word “hate” expresses our moral obligation to Jesus above all others, even self. Jesus redirects loyalties to what is eternal above what is temporal.
2. Our Cost
Observation towers in vineyards still exist. Ancient city walls also contained watch towers. If thinking of becoming a Christian, then counting the cost beforehand is important. What will we do if family or personal desires pressure us to be lukewarm or even quit? Will we be faithful to the end?
The tower analogy is building a disciple’s life. Jesus wants us to seriously consider the cost. Morally, discipleship includes willingness to give some things up, the opposite of materialistic false gospels. Symbolically, family resources and our own strength cannot finish the job. We must rely on heaven to help us.
3. Our Sacrifice
In man‐to‐man combat, those willing to die are more likely to succeed and live. Wartime leaders take counsel from a wide variety of advisers. Good disciples surround themselves with formal and informal mentors with experience and wisdom. Fidelity to Christ means being always ready to place everything else behind us.
Those early disciples did literally abandon family and businesses to follow Jesus. By analogy, we are at war against evil and must be committed to Jesus above material distractions. Morally, being overwhelmed with materialism blinds us to the spiritual battle for our souls. Prophetically, the kingdom belongs to the faithful.
How committed are we to Jesus? Are we willing to carry our cross? Have we counted the cost of discipleship? Are we willing to make the sacrifice?