The Holy Gospel according to
St. Luke 14:2533
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and
said to them, 14:26 "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father
and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even
life itself, cannot be my disciple. 14:27 Whoever does not carry
the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 14:28 For which of
you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and
estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?
14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to
finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 14:30 saying,
'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' 14:31 Or
what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not
sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand
to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
14:32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he
sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 14:33 So
therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give
up all your possessions.
The Gospel of the Lord . . .
is the Price
that must be Paid?
If someone is going to live solely for Jesus, What is the Price
that must be Paid? Actually, it's not a matter of paying something
out, . . . but it may mean giving something up. For Jesus asks us
this morning: "Are you willing to Renounce your Allegiance to
every Concern that competes with what I have said or taught you?"
Notice how Jesus goes to that which is most precious to us . .
, our own family members Mothers, Fathers (Ok Teens: You do need
your parents . . . I'll explain what Jesus means in a minute) On
the other hand, Parents are to place the Lord, as more important
than children . . . but again, don't worry kids (Mom and Dad
will not forsake you nor forget about you.)
What is most important here is that Jesus has gotten our
Will we make a commitment to him that we are able to keep? Or
Will we allow the allegiances that life brings and challenges us
with -- draw us away from the faith and eventually abandon the
Lord? Jesus has our attention and he wants for us to consider
where our priorities are . . .
Brochures that beckon visitors to Alaska depict breathtaking
mountains, pristine seascapes, and plentiful opportunity. Few
explain how difficult life can become there. Hence, newcomers
experience some surprises at the array of abandoned homes,
vehicles, and places of business that dot the Alaskan landscape.
Unfinished and barely used structures stand in silent testimony to
the harsh, unforgiving winters and to dreams that failed under
In a similar fashion, You and I have failed projects and failed
ambitions that haunt the landscapes of our lives. There are
unfinished projects in the basement, the garage and in our attics.
Other aspects of life show where we lost site of commitment or
priorities: Abandoned marriages and friendships lie strewn in our
Perhaps we didn't count the cost or couldn't imagine what
genuine commitment might ultimately require. The same goes for our
responses to vocation and discipleship. Most of us know too well
what the builder, Jesus, describes in the lesson, the person with
the half-built tower (or car or addition to the house) becomes the
town joke, or the general who entered battle short-handed or ill
advised* (*an unfortunate modern reality), becomes the object of
ridicule. Perhaps we'll do better one day, but we'll never be rid
of all our failures.
Jesus is telling his audience you and I today, that to be a
participant in the family of God, one needs to carefully consider
the commitment involved. It's not that Jesus really wants us to
abandon our loved ones in some kind of a fanatical religious
frenzy, in fact, it is quite the opposite. We need to understand
that Jesus is speaking to people who were used to his "eye and ear
opening" teaching style. Yes, it is a radical call to coming under
the umbrella of the kingdom that Jesus is revealing it is a call
to prioritizing our loyalties. First we are to view ourselves as
children of God, and secondly, children of our birth families and
thirdly citizens of a nation.
Jesus calls us to think on what it is that he is saying, and
then to make acting on HIS WORD the first priority. "If you love
me, you will keep my commandments."
Jesus tells us, that ", none of you can become my disciple if
you do not give up all your possessions. And it seems that Jesus
has found out that many of his would- be disciples are caught up
in an IDENTITY CRISIS. So Jesus finds it necessary to tell us that
we must consider the cost of FULLY IDENTIFYING OURSELVES in him!
As the Lord says elsewhere, "You must deny yourself, take up your
cross and follow me."
"In the end, it doesn't matter how many unfinished projects or
how much debris we leave behind. Christ, who calls us to
discipleship, finished his project. He faced the army alone. His
curious tower, the cross outside Jerusalem, stands complete.
That's enough, both for him and for us who are baptized into his
When visitors ask Alaskans why nobody cleans up those abandoned
vehicles and buildings, they respond with their own surprise. "Are
you kidding?" they reply. That's our parts department. If we need
wood, wire, or a whole wall, we go to one of those and get it! The
same if someone lacks a starter motor or a headlight.' In a way,
the body of Christ works like that. To God, even our unfinished
projects have some use. By God's grace, a bit of mine and a piece
of yours eventually amount to a whole tower. God isn't finished
with any of us just yet."
Jesus does not wish that we would languish in shame about the
things we have not been able to accomplish in the frailties of our
lives, nor in the Vanity of our unsuccessful plans, and incomplete
No, BUT INSTEAD:
Jesus Calls us from our earthly regrets and our Earthly
IDENTITY and asks us to RECONSIDER our commitment to IDENTIFYING
OUR SELVES WITH HIM! Don't follow in the way of human frailty, but
consider that the price for your REDEEMED IDENTITY (In Christ
Jesus) has been paid.
Identifying ourselves with Jesus, the Resurrected, reigning
King of Glory . . We don't have to identify ourselves any longer
with a particular heritage. Our family of decent, our family tree
is no longer relevant when we are fully identifying ourselves as
children of God! Instead, Christ Calls us to attach ourselves with
the Word that has become flesh. The One who was Raised from the
dead becomes first and foremost our reason for living. It is not
that we despise our families, our children of parents. . . . but
more that our priorities change. Christ becomes first and foremost
our reason for doing whatever it is that we do . . . (not
upholding the family tradition) but redefining the family
tradition under the umbrella of Christ's life, love and calling on
THANKS BE TO GOD who gives us all of his love in Jesus. May we
rededicate ourselves to following him, to building his kingdom and
to loving one another.
more writings of Pastor Jon