New RelationshipsLuke 14:25-27Theme: Priorities.This week’s lessons remind us that we must surrender all to Jesus.
Lesson”Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’ ” (Matt 10:34-36). It is after this that Jesus speaks of loving a father or mother, a son or daughter, more than himself. In this context the words in Matthew are not essentially different from those in Luke. Both speak of a situation in which one must make a choice between Christ or other persons (even members of one’s own family), and they declare that one cannot be Christ’s follower without rejecting anyone who is opposed to him or who would exercise a higher position of affection and authority in the disciple’s life.
Luke 14:25-33 contains three sentences each ending with the words “cannot be my disciple.” The first says that unless we hate members of our family – yes, even our own lives – we cannot be Christ’s disciples. The second says that unless we carry our crosses and follow Christ we cannot be his disciples. The third says that if we do not give up everything we have, we cannot be Christ’s disciples. These are three ways of saying that we must count the cost in all areas and at all times if we would be Christians.
But it is even more than this! In the last lesson I began with Jesus’ words about counting the cost in Luke 14:28-33, deliberately passing over verses 26 and 27. It was because counting the cost was the more basic idea. Here, by going back, we go beyond mere cost-accounting. We ask whether we are willing to pay the most painful of all costs for salvation.
The statement batters us with four profoundly shocking truths. The first is the radical demands of Christ’s kingdom. Over the years that I have been in Christian work, I have been asked to serve on a number of boards of Christian organizations, and to the extent that I have had time, I have been glad to do so. I have done everything I am able to do for these organizations. But I have not left father or mother or wife or children in order to assume these responsibilities. In fact, I have not surrendered any other legitimate responsibility to serve on those boards.
Christ’s statements about the demands of his kingdom are not like that. We think of most work as something that can be taken on and then later dropped (if it pleases us to drop it) with no great issues involved. But when Jesus presented the demands of his kingdom, it was always as that which demanded the most radical commitment on the part of his followers. It was not something that could be taken up and then dropped (if it pleases us to drop it) with no great issues involved. It was not to be a part-time occupation.
The second profound truth is the unique authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ statement that unless a person hates father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be his disciple, also teaches the unique authority of Jesus. For who would dare say such a thing unless he possessed unique authority? Who but God could make such demands?
This was the great issue confronting those who followed Jesus during the days of his earthly ministry. When he first began to teach, they marveled, because he taught as one who had authority and not as the scribes (Matt. 7:29). When he quieted the storm on the sea of Galilee, those who were with him were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matt. 8:27). When he forgave the sins of the paralytic, the teachers of the law asked themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). It became perfectly evident to these and others of Jesus’ contemporaries that he was speaking with more than human power and authority. Was he the Son of God? This was the great issue. As we know, some rejected that conclusion and eventually crucified him as a blasphemer and deceiver. But those who recognized this authority (substantiated by his miracles) went on to the inevitable conclusion and worshiped him as God.
What is the foundational teaching found in both Matthew 10:34-36 and Luke 14:25-33?
How does Luke 14:25-33 go a step beyond merely counting the cost?
With what shocking truths do Jesus’ words confront us in today’s lesson?
How was Jesus’ authority substantiated?