Luke 14:25-26 (NIV) 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “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.
On verses 25-26: Do I literally need to hate my parents, my wife, my kids, and my siblings in order to follow Jesus? No. God calls us to love our neighbours, especially our immediate family (see 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 3:5). So what does Jesus mean in verse 26? Here’s what I think Jesus means: to truly follow Jesus means that your number one priority in life is your relationship with Jesus Christ, and that your number one loyalty and allegiance is to Jesus Christ, far above and beyond anyone else in this world. In fact what I have found in my own life and seen in the lives of others is that when you put Jesus first, it makes you a better lover of your family. You become a more selfless husband or wife, a wiser parent or child, a better sibling. In the end, to know and follow Jesus first is the best thing you can do to love your family.
Luke 14:27 (NIV) 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
On verse 27: What does it mean to “carry your cross”? Didn’t Jesus go to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to? Yes, Jesus died on the cross for our sins in our place. But to carry my cross means that as a follower of Jesus, I submit to God’s plans for my life and I am willing to suffer for Jesus. It’s about having an attitude of surrender to God and being willing to suffer for His name. Elsewhere in Luke 9:23 Jesus says that we are to take up our cross daily, which means every day our attitude should be “Jesus, my life belongs to You and I live for Your glory”.
Luke 14:28-33 (NIV) 28 “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? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “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? 32 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. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
On verses 27-33: Before you make any big decision, count the cost. Make sure you are able to live up to your promises and commitments before you make them. Think clearly and thoroughly before making a major decision that affects you and those in your care.
How does this relate to following Jesus (v33)? Following Jesus means surrendering everything you have to Jesus. It’s saying, “Jesus, I’ve counted everything I have and it all belongs to You. Do as You wish with all of it. Use it for Your glory.”
Luke 14:34-35 (NIV) 34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
On verses 34-35: Elsewhere Jesus calls his followers “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). What does salt do? Salt preserves. Salt brings flavour. When a city is frozen over, people use salt to melt the ice on the streets. Salt is used to heal. Similarly, like salt, God uses us to bring the flavour of life to the people around us. Like salt, God uses us to preserve the Word of God so that people can see how it is relevant, useful and applicable to people’s lives today. Like salt, God uses us to melt icy places with God’s love. Like salt, God uses us to heal those who are hurting. But if we lose Jesus, the one who makes us salty, we lose our ability to fulfill our God-given purpose in this world. So whatever you do, hang on to Jesus.
Jesus, may my relationship with You always be my number one priority, knowing that when I love you first, I become a better lover of my family. Please give me wisdom to count the cost before I make major decisions that affect me and my family. Today I declare that every good thing I have comes from You and belongs to You. Use it all for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!