New RelationshipsLuke 14:25-27Theme: Priorities.This week’s lessons remind us that we must surrender all to Jesus.
LessonIf Jesus is God, then the demands of his kingdom become even more radical than we have hitherto imagined. When we hear Jesus saying that we must hate our fathers and mothers, wives and children, in order to be his disciples, that seems shockingly extreme. But if he is God, it is not extreme at all. If he is God, nothing he could possibly demand could be outrageous. If he is God, we owe him total obedience and total self-surrender. Yes, even our own lives are not too much to give in his service.
On the other hand, the fact that Jesus is God makes the self-surrender all right. For God is not an arbitrary deity who has no concern for us, and who, as we might wrongly imagine, has concern only for his own self-aggrandizement and glory. God made us. He has given us life and families and homes and a reasonable portion of this world’s goods to enjoy. These things are good precisely because they are made by God and are God’s gifts. It follows therefore that if God requires us to give up one or more of these things in a specific situation – as a pioneer missionary might have to do in order to take the gospel to remote and dangerous areas of the world – it is because the demand, hard as it may appear, is nevertheless good in that particular situation. If God is commanding, what is commanded is good for others and for ourselves as well.
The third truth we must face is the inescapable priorities of true discipleship. As soon as we talk of good in every situation or of personal sacrifice in a specific situation, we tend to relax, assuming that we are therefore off the hook and that the disturbing radical nature of true Christian discipleship need not affect us. This is a false conclusion. It is true that Jesus may never ask us to break with our families for his sake or, as in the case of the rich young man, sell all we have and give to the poor and then come and follow him. Indeed, in the great majority of cases, this is not required at all. But we must be willing to obey in these or any other areas if Jesus asks it, and we must do it if he does ask.
This is to say that we must get our priorities straight. Following Jesus must be the most important thing in our lives, yes, even more than our lives. Nothing must ever be done that subtracts from that commitment. Everything must be done to strengthen it.
The fourth truth to grasp is the dangers of this world. This fourth shocking truth in Christ’s statement about hating father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, is the insidious danger of this world – even the area of normal human relations and affections. We must say to ourselves, “If I can be kept from Christ by the normal love that I should have for parents, spouse, children, or siblings, as Christ obviously teaches I can be, then how dangerous must the snares of this world be!”
The world is sophisticated, persistent, and insidious in its temptation. How is a person to resist these temptations–if they can even come to us through the proper and desirable affection and loyalty we feel for members of our own family? The chief way is to be bold in confessing Christ.
Why is it safe to give up all for Jesus?
What are some truths about God commands?
What line of thinking do we fall into that lets us off the hook of the radical demands of discipleship?
What two additional shocking truths come from Jesus’ words in Luke 14:25-33?
What is the chief way to overcome the snares of this world?
ApplicationIs there anything in your life that subtracts from your commitment to Christ? Have you allowed anything into your life that is spiritually questionable to your conscience? If so, make concrete plans to remove the obstacle today.